1 Samuel 1:9-20
Mark 1:21-28


There are times and moments in life when we may have felt that we were at ‘rock bottom.’ Or we might even say that we were at the bottom of the barrel. We might have felt so low and lacking in meaning, yet deep within us, we desired with all our might to be life giving, enriching to others, and hence be delivered from the doldrums and rise out of the ashes of our misery. This was the case of Hannah in the Reading from the First Book of Samuel today.

I heard someone say to me at one time that it was when they felt to be at the bottom of the barrel in life that they came to realise that they were resting on the palm of God’s hand. This realisation was true for Hannah and can be true for us when we have been in that dark place. From within that darkness, Hannah’s prayer was heard, and she conceived and bore a son named Samuel… Hannah’s response to this experience of salvation was profound praise, as we see in the response to the Psalm: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord, my Saviour.’

In the Gospel for today, we see that the ‘life giving words’ of Jesus in the Synagogue caused the darkness within a man to scream out at His authority, recognising in Jesus the saving hand of God.

For us, God’s saving hand desires to elevate us out of darkness and be refreshed in newness of life. This experience of salvation is paramount in our personal development of faith. How have we seen the saving hand of God in our life?

Kevin Walsh is a priest in the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney. He has been formed in the Passionist tradition and Ministers to the Aged, the Sick, the Dying and the Bereaved.