The Heart of the Matter
Malvern Minute


January 16, 2018    Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call. Alleluia, alleluia!

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the first Book of Samuel (16:1-13)

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons. But Samuel replied: “How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me.” To this the LORD answered: “Take a heifer along and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired, “Is your visit peaceful, O seer?” He replied:
“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.” He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:  “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.” Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”  Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There–anoint him, for this is he!”  Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.  When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Reflect: Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart. We’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” In today’s first reading, God is reminding us that we are often tempted to judge by appearance, however, we are called to discern the heart. To recognize the heart of a person requires that we let ourselves be formed by the heart and mind of God. To discern the heart requires that we sit at the feet of the Master – flooding ourselves with prayer, reading the Holy Scriptures, entering into silence to listen to the voice of God. We need to fill ourselves with good things, the things of God. Jesus was often confronted by the Pharisees and elders who challenged his lack of obedience to the law. In today’s Gospel (Mark 2:23-28), Jesus teaches them that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” To be an authentic disciple requires that we become more like our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. The Church provides an abundance of ways for us to grow in our faith and so to enter more deeply into the life and words of Christ. As we grow in the Lord, may we have the grace to see more and more like Jesus – not by appearance, but by recognizing the heart of the matter.

Questions: What influences me to make a decision about people and life situations? Do I strive to grow in holiness (to be more like Jesus) so that I can see into the heart of the matter rather than judge by appearance? How might I begin to slow down and pray to be attentive the Holy Spirit’s inspiration so that I might see as God sees?

Pray: Loving God, you know my heart. Help me to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit so that I might be an authentic disciple focused on promoting your ways in the world rather than my own.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Holy God; Holy and Might One; Holy and Immortal One: Have mercy on me and on the whole world.


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