Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

(I Samuel 2:1.4-5.6-7.8abcd; Mark 1:21-28)

What might be said of the pastoral approach of Eli to Hannah? He sounds accusatory when he tells the distraught woman that she is making “a drunken show of herself.” But at least he addresses the issue of her odd behavior. In fact, he does not call her a drunkard but only lets her know what seems obvious to him. The episode warns us to avoid hasty conclusions, but it should also encourage us to speak to those in obvious need rather than make it seem that we do not notice or care.

Whatever the justice of Eli’s approach, his addressing Hannah’s difficulty has marvelous effects. She can pour out her soul to the holy man and receive his counsel. Even more significantly, the encounter raises her spirits from desperation to peace with herself and her family. Although the hand of God always plays a part in these things, we might see the greater receptiveness of Hannah to the love of her husband Elkanah facilitating the conception of their son Samuel.