Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Two (Ordinary Time)
Blessed be the Lord, my rock.
(Responsorial: Psalm 144)
In 1 Samuel 17: 32-51 young David brings down the giant Goliath with a slingshot. But the heart of the story is the difference between what Goliath was aware of and what David was.
Goliath was just aware of what he saw: his size and strength compared to David’s, his weapons compared to David’s. David was aware of something not seen: the mystery of God’s presence, God’s involvement in the fight, and of himself as aided by God’s strength.
We can’t help seeing in the “five stones” David picked up out of the water of the riverbed something not intended by Scripture but still true: the five “weapons” God gives us in Baptism to help us “meet and defeat” life’s challenges, even the most gigantic.
The first is awareness of our identity as children of the Father. We “pick up” this stone every time we make ourselves aware of “Our Father… in heaven!” and of his divine life in us.
The second is enlightenment. We “pick up” this stone when we commit to the prayerful study of God that makes us able to “glorify” or “hallow” his Name.
The third is the power of the Holy Spirit that we begin to use when we dedicate ourselves to making his Kingdom come, beginning with a lifestyle that accredits us as prophetic witnesses to Christ.
The fourth stone is God’s promise that we will have a posterity by giving life to others through priestly ministry. We pick it up when we surrender to letting the Father’s will be done in us and through us by Christ expressing his truth and love in our words and actions.
The fifth stone is the sustaining assurance of victory in our efforts, as stewards of his kingship, to establish God’s reign over all creation. We pick it up as we abandon ourselves to an all-consuming hunger for the daily Bread of Christ given in the “wedding banquet of the Lamb” to all who are forgiving as they are forgiven in the “unity and peace of his kingdom.”
With these five stones, taken from the waters of Baptism, we can meet and defeat any enemy that comes against us.
Mark 3:1-6 continues yesterday’s teaching. In the synagogue was a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees of the “law and order” party were watching “to see whether Jesus would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.” They didn’t care about the man’s suffering. All they cared about was law observance. We find this today.
Jesus asked them: “Is it keeping God’s law to do good on the sabbath, or to do harm?” To save life or to kill?”
They wouldn’t answer him. “They were silent.” Every priest who has ever been accused of breaking rules by “legalists” in the Church knows that, if he explains the pastoral justification for what he did, they will simply “be silent.” They are not interested in truth, just laws. When they did this to Jesus, he “looked around at them with anger.” It is the only time he ever did. Verbum sat.
Initiative: Keep aware of the mystery of divine life. Do not become a nitpicker.