Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1

David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites
and spent two days in Ziklag.
On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp,
with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.
David asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel.”
“Tell me what happened,” David bade him.
He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle
and that many of them had fallen and were dead,
among them Saul and his son Jonathan.

David seized his garments and rent them,
and all the men who were with him did likewise.
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening
for Saul and his son Jonathan,
and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel,
because they had fallen by the sword.

“Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul,
slain upon your heights;
how can the warriors have fallen!

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished,
separated neither in life nor in death,
swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.

“How can the warriors have fallen?
in the thick of the battle,
slain upon your heights!

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
most dear have you been to me;
more precious have I held love for you than love for women.

“How can the warriors have fallen,
the weapons of war have perished!”


Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”


I. THEME: We should recognize God’s and others’ love for us.


            When people are in love, they do something which are regarded as insane by others, such as: to wait for the lover under rain, to be ready to die for the lover… But to those in love, they are urged to do something to demonstrate their love for others. Jesus himself also did the insane thing by washing his disciples’ feet; he also taught them to wash each other’s feet. He taught them the way to recognize the real love: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Jesus didn’t only say it, he exemplified by carrying his cross to Golgotha and died for people to show the depth of his love.

            Today readings help us to recognize God’s and others’ love through their sacrifices. In the first reading, David and the whole people wept for king Saul, Jonathan his son, and all soldiers who died in the battle. They remembered what these people sacrificed their whole life to protect the people. In the Gospel, Jesus and his disciples continuously worked to help people to the point that they had no time to eat. His relatives, after hearing this, went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.”




1/ Reading I: “Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places! How are the mighty fallen!”


            1.1/ We must show our gratitude to those who sacrificed their life to protect our country.

            (1) A leader must put his nation’s common good above his individual conflict: People are usually happy when they no longer had to face their enemies, to worry about retaliation, and especially to become a king. But this is not true to David because he respected Saul, God’s anointed one. He also had a special friendship love for Jonathan because he delivered David from danger of death. Finally, he also had love for all soldiers who sacrificed their lives to fight and to protect the country. David was in deep pain when he heard the report from one soldier who escaped from the battlefield: “The people have fled from the battle, and many of the people also have fallen and are dead; and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

            (2) A leader must have gratitude to past generations: Nation’s prosperity was built on efforts and sacrifices of past generations; therefore, the duties of young generations are to be in gratitude, to pray, and to protect what they accomplished. To show their gratitude and appreciation, David took hold of his clothes, and rent them; and so did all the men who were with him; and they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

            All the things they did, such as: renting their clothes, putting dirt in their heads, weeping and fasting, are described by the Jewish tradition when one mourns the loss of his relative.


            1.2/ David wept for Saul and Jonathan.

            (1) King Saul and Jonathan sacrificed their life for people: People are easy to forget others’ sacrifices and efforts, especially those whom they had problems with. This wasn’t happened to David because he recognized all sacrifices which Saul and Nathan had done to the nation. Their sacrifices are the reasons for the nation’s prosperity and safety. David advised the Israelites’ women to mourn for Saul and Nathan to appreciate what they had done for them: “Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you daintily in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.”


            (2) David valued the most Jonathan’s friendship and saving him from death: The friendship between David and Jonathan began by respecting the truth. Jonathan recognized his father didn’t behave properly with David’s love and sacrifice; and the reason for it is his jealousy of David’s success through the killing of Goliath. Jonathan decided to prevent his father from killing David by advising his father to stop, by let David know of his father’s plan (1 Sam 19-20). When David heard of Jonathan’s death, he was deeply moved and expressed his love as following: “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!””


2/ Gospel: Jesus and his disciples sacrificed themselves to help people.


            2.1/ Jesus’ love for human beings: Mark briefly reported: “Then he went home and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.”

            This thing happened because Jesus and his disciples had a great love for people. If Jesus didn’t want this to happen, he only needed to stop the healings or to go to a deserted place. The only reason why this was allowed to happen because of their immense love for people. They joyfully served people and forgot about eating.


            2.2/ Jesus’ relatives couldn’t understand what Jesus was doing: Mark continued to report: “when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.””

            Those who aren’t in love, can’t understand the reason of heart. Jesus’ relatives can’t understand how much does Jesus love his Father and human beings. To them, Jesus’ life is abnormal and failure because:

            (1) He had to be constantly on the road, had no house to live and no job to support his living. To them, one needs to have a house and a career.

            (2) He made friends with the poor, the uneducated, the sinners and the sick. To them, one needs to make friend with the rich, the educated and the good to advance in their life.

            (3) He opposed the power of religious leaders, such as: the Pharisees, the scribes, the elders. To them, to do such thing is to face death.


III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     


            – When we meditate what Jesus did, is doing, and shall do for us, we should recognize his immense love for us, as St. Paul stated: “Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man — though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:7-8).

            – We need to discard selfishness, an enemy of love and a threat for the common good. We need to be gratitude to all sacrifices which people have constantly done for us.

            – Because Christ sacrificed his life for us, we can’t be selfish to live for ourselves; but to live for Christ and for others as he taught us.

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