It is 15th January 2018. The readings are from 1 Samuel 15:16-23; and the Gospel from Mark 2:18-22. Obedience is not a skill to be learnt but it is the virtue to be acquired by unwavering humility. Even if the reason proves the other way, yet we go by the self-surrendering spirit to the higher plan of God without questioning the will of God in our lives. It is very easy for the ones who hold power, authority and influence to preach about obedience but absolutely challenging for the ones who listen to it, discern it and to take it to heart what is proposed is the mind of God in one’s lives. Obedience garnishes the spiritual life of the person. Obedience is the most challenging virtue, but it stands supremely tall in the most rewarding attempt to please God. Listening attentively without personal gains and prejudices to the voice of God within oneself is the obedience. God speaks to us in very many ways. Very noticeably and in a challenging way, God proposes the plans for our lives through those who animate us, lead us, guide us, parent us; and eventually God expects us to discern to respond in a way that does not infringe the Spirit of God. The first reading speaks about the first king Saul and his challenging times in discerning and listening to the voice of God. It hurts God when those who hold higher offices did not listen to the voice of God and engaging in activities that displeases God. When our minds and wills follow the attractions of the material world, we choose to disobey God. Saul, the king thought by sacrifices, he could compromise obedience. God rejects such sacrifices that tramples the obedience to God. Through the prophet Samuel, God interjects the king and ejects him out of the power since his heart has fallen in love with the things of the world not willing to listen to the Word of God. The king justified his stealing and looting pointing out that he did what he did to do the sacrifice for the Lord. God is not interested in our stolen wealth of the suffering humanity be offered to God and God’s Church. God is interested in an empty, humble, contrite and obeying heart rather than proud, arrogant, popular, glorified, idealized heart. “Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Sam.15:22,23). The responsorial Psalm acclaims, “I will show God’s salvation to the upright.” (Ps.49:23). In the Gospel, we see Jesus as the one who obeyed the Father at all cost. The suggests that we must not rationalize and justify our actions when we have failed to listen to the Word of God. We do not need to follow the Lord grudgingly rather with the generous heart. Our fasting would not please God when we have become the source of poverty to the suffering poor around. God cannot be pleased with our fasting and rituals when we have willfully closed our eyes to the voices of the poor around. May you discern the mind of God wherever you are exposed to experience obedience. May you have a good day.