Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Four (Ordinary Time)
Lord, you are exalted over all!
(Responsorial; 1Chronicles 29:10-12)
1Kings 2:1-12: On his deathbed David tells his son Solomon to act according to God’s mind heart so that God will keep his promise to extend his family’s reign over Israel forever. The expurgated version read at Mass omits verses 5 to 9, in which David tells his son not to let two people who offended him—Joab and Shimei—die a natural death.
God called David “a man after his own heart.” How could he do that when David was also a savage warlord, a rapist and a murderer? 1
God looks to the heart. He never justified David’s sins. Nor did David. But God knew David loved him. David never broke off his relationship with God or turned to false gods. And God never broke off his relationship with David or cancelled his promise to him.
We are still misled today by what the bishops at Vatican II acknowledged as “false or careless” teaching of Catholic doctrines in the period prior to the Council. 2
Among these we must count the too simplistic explanations of “mortal sin” that made generations of Catholics fear they were condemned to Hell for momentary lapses in law observance or for sins of weakness that were confidently declared “grave matter” without clear and convincing justification. They took for granted that their covenant with God and God’s “steadfast love” for them could be broken and renewed almost on a weekly basis. As a result, many who felt helpless against their temptations just stopped going to Confession, receiving Communion, and eventually quit participating in Mass and in the life of the Church altogether.
They should have taken a good, long look at God’s relationship with David.
Mark 6:7-13: Just as David gave Solomon instructions for carrying on his rule over Israel, Jesus gives his disciples instructions for carrying out his mission to Israel; and after Pentecost, to the world. But what a difference!
David told Solomon to persevere in “walking in God’s ways and keeping his… commandments… as written in the law of Moses.” Jesus told his disciples to give prophetic witness through a lifestyle that depended on the presence and power of his Spirit in them. Solomon was to walk in God’s ways; the disciples were to walk in God’s Spirit. Solomon would be famous for his wisdom and riches. The glory of Jesus’ disciples would be their poverty and their dependence on God for what they were to say. Solomon had the accreditation of human wealth, honors and prestige. Christ’s disciples were accredited by the absence of human resources that kept them aware and revealed to others their reliance on the divine power of God working in them.3 ]
Initiative: Embody some characteristics in your lifestyle that reveal it as divine.
1 1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22.
2 See The Church in the Modern World, no, 19.
3 See 1Kings 3:12-13; 10:1-23; Matthew 10:19-20; 1Corinthians 1:17 to 2:16.