Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
2nd Friday in Ordinary time, Yr 2, also feast of St Agnes, January 21, 2022
1 Sm 24:3-21; Ps 57:2-4, 6, 11; Mk 3:13-19
There are two very important actions that take place in today’s readings. The first being David not taking action against King Saul. This is a prefiguring of the kingdom to come and set up the future kingdom of David. We know that God promised the messiah would come from the lineage of David, and by David sparing Saul, he sets the precedent of Jesus’s coming and the new covenant, the covenant of love. It took both David and Saul to participate for this happen. David, on his part, deciding to show forgiveness and mercy on Saul even though he could easily have killed King Saul. And Saul, showing humility, grace and forgiveness on David, even though he, too, could have easily attacked and wiped out David and his army. This act of reconciliation between the two of them shows how much love God has for us, and how much love we should have for each other. Take heed and eliminate the vindictive nature in ourselves that demands retribution and show mercy and love instead.
The second important act is Jesus assigning the 12 disciples. As the scripture says, the 12 represent the 12 tribes of Israel which are representative of the old covenant. It is time to end the old covenant and begin the new covenant of the Church. The new covenant which we will hear more about in the coming weeks. The new covenant of love.
St. Agnes, whose feast day is today, at a very young age recognized both the signs spoken about earlier. The ones of love and forgiveness. According to St. Ambrose, she was only about 12, around the beginning of the 4th century, when she was martyred. Put in a brothel, God protected her innocence and purity by blinding and knocking down anyone who would desire her. She suffered martyrdom by being thrown in a fire naked. She covered herself with her own hair to preserve her purity. But the flames never touched her, so it is said they used a sword to cut off her head. In essence, she suffered two martyrdoms, one of modesty, the other a physical tormenting for her faith. She is often depicted in paintings with flames, a sword and a lamb that signifies purity. On this day each year, two lambs are blessed and from their wool a pallia, a narrow circular band made of wool, worn around your neck, is made. Often worn by the Pope, these are blessed on June 29 and then distributed to the Arch Bishops to symbolize the papal authority in their metropolitan (archdiocese) areas. Let us use St. Agnes as a model of purity, modesty, and faithfulness to guide us as we go forth in the world.