God is our Stronghold

MONDAY: Week One in Ordinary Time

1Sam.1:1-8/Ps.115:12-19/Mk.1:14-20


God is our Stronghold


Certain human limitations, I believe, are opportunities for building faith and resilience. They make us like gold and silver purified and tested in a furnace. In our trials, God journeys with us, patiently. He waits for the opportune time to sanctify, justify and glorify us. Remember! God made his Son perfect through suffering (Heb.2:10). In the same way, I believe, in our own times, God will put his chosen ones through the crucibles. He will make them fresh-minted coins in the economy of salvation.


In a world of fierce rivalry, the language of human limitation is intolerable. It is interpreted as a curse. People often do not recognise limitations as gifts from God. Why? Humility, obedience and meekness are demanding spiritual values. They build human character under the most taunting and dire conditions. They enable us to become living expressions of the Beatitudes. To know one’s self, to accept who we are in good faith, and overcome our limitations with God's help, is a special grace. It is like the only key that will unlock the gates to liberation, freedom and success. God never gives us more than we can endure; he will never inflict us with what he cannot remedy. According to Job, the one who wounds, blinds and strikes, heals (Job 5:18). Whoever mocks the poor ridicules their maker (Prov.17:5).


This my friends are the story of Peninnah and Hannah. The former was prolific in childbearing. The latter was barren for a while until she conceived and gave birth to Samuel by God’s grace. Peninnah taunted Hannah who cried and went into a state of depression. Elkanah, her husband, consoled her. He begged her to be contented with him as a blessing from God.


The moral of today’s first reading is: take courage. Be strong. Wait patiently. The Lord will save you (Ps.27:14). Even when our rivals prosper trust in the Lord. Disregard the efforts of the wicked; control your temper; do not fret; it can only bring harm (Ps.37:7).


O God, grant me patience and endurance when the odds seem against me.

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