Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Two (Ordinary Time)
In God I trust; I shall not fear.
(Responsorial: Psalm 56)
In 1Samuel 18:6 to 19:7 envy of David’s popularity makes Saul decide to kill him. This was really stupid. What had he ceased to be aware of?
Saul had forgotten he was only king by obedience: because God told him to be. Without God’s support, what was he?
He was ignoring the gift of Fear of the Lord, which would have shown him that, seen in perspective, the real value of his kingship was in the relationship he had with the Infinite God who had chosen and anointed him. To give up this relationship with the All Good, All Loving One for the sake of the limited benefits of earthly rule was idiocy. And to try to defeat God the All Mighty by killing David was insanity.
He was also ignoring Wisdom, the gift of “taste” for spiritual things, joined to the habit of seeing everything in the light of the “last end.” Saul first found joy in his kingship because he was being obedient to God, serving God, pleasing God. But gradually he became less aware of this spiritual joy and more conscious of the perks, popularity, prestige and power he found in palace life on a throne. Then he shortened his focus to the here-and-now and lost sight of the final goal: union with the Eternal God. He lost Wisdom. Became unaware.
Mark 3:7-12: The “Pharisee party” is strong in the Church and always will be. But more numerous are all the good people who come to Jesus honestly, but for the wrong reason.
A great multitude followed him… for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him.
They came, not primarily to learn from Jesus or to become holy, but because they were suffering and hoped he would heal them. Like people today who come to church for relief, strength to face the ordinary challenges of life, with some hope it will make them “feel good.” Which is legitimate. And good.
Those who came to Jesus to be healed had faith that he could, hope that he would, and love for the God who showed in Jesus that he cared for them. They just didn’t want, or even think about, what Jesus came to give; “life to the full,” the “eternal life,” that is to know the Father, “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.” This is true of most Christians still. 1
Wisdom (as defined above) is rare. Fear of the Lord moves people to do what they have to to “get to heaven,” but not much more. The perspective that shows God as All that is good, and everything else as nothing in comparison, is lacking. Bottom line: mediocrity.
That is why Jesus “ordered the demons not to make him known.” He did not want people who came for healing to identify this as the role of the Messiah. He longed to tell them, “You will see greater things than these.” But they weren’t ready to hear it. Are you? 2
Initiative: Write down what you want to “get out of” religion. Grade yourself.
1 John 10:10; 17:3.
2 See John 1:50.