Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday word, 30 Jan 2008

3d Friday of the Year (30 Jan 2008) 2Sm 7. 4-17; Ps 89; Mk 4. 1-20
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.


In three days the Second Book of Samuel covered over 10 years at the outset of David’s reign as king of Israel. Illustrated is a triple dynamic of promise- correction-renewed promise. This divine dynamic speaks to us here and now.

We heard that after he was acclaimed king by the elders and anointed in their presence, David left Hebron and made his way about 19 miles north to Jerusalem. David took the city and made it his capital. David grew steadily more powerful, for the Lord of hosts was with him./1/ God promised to be with David, and David tried to remain faithful to God as God was to him.

To his new capital David brought the ark of God’s covenant. More than a container for the broken tablets of the Ten Commandments, the ark was the very strength and glory of God./2/ It was the mobile vanguard leading the people, the presence of God among them. In his city David set [the ark] in its place within the tent David had pitched for it./3/

To David a tent was not good enough. Speaking through Nathan, God’s prophet at David’s court, God corrected David’s reasoning. It was characteristically reverent, but it steered David away from God’s promise: The Lord...reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.

David could not build a house for the Builder of the Earth! God had no care or need for a house. The promise to abide with David surpassed a building. The house God promised David would be David’s ancestors, a royal throne, a kingdom. David’s dynasty roused longings for a Messiah, the son of David. In a surpassing and unsurpassed way Jesus fulfilled that longing.

We can distract ourselves from Jesus without realizing it when we set about doing for Jesus. Jesus does for us in his dying and rising. Jesus also desires to do for each person as each one needs at a given time: What do you want me to do for you?/4/ His question renews his promise to us. We’re wise to allow Jesus to ask us often his saving question and to allow him to act.
/1/ 2Samuel 5.10, closing Monday’s first reading.
/2/ Psalm. 78:61.
/3/ 2Samuel 6.17 in Tuesday’s first reading.
/4/ Mark 10.51; Luke 18.41
Wiki-image of
David bearing the ark of testament into Jerusalem is in the public domain.

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