Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday word, 23 Jan 2008

2d Wednesday of the Year (23 Jan 2008) 1Sm 17. 32-33,37,40-51; Ps 144; Mk 3. 1-6
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Welcoming the Mystery

The readings at daily mass from the First Book of Samuel highlight the important moments as the era of the kings of Israel emerged. The movement throughout the book, and indeed the whole bible, is “away from God-return to God.” Before they felt the threat of the Philistines, the people had moved away from God--long David. Samuel told the people, “If you wish with your whole heart to return to the Lord, put away your foreign gods and...devote yourselves to the Lord, and worship him alone. Then he will deliver you from the power of the Philistines.”
The people did that. They fasted...confessing, “We have sinned against the Lord.”/1/

Saul moved away from God. He was weak and insignificant when God chose him as king. However, Saul relied more on his natural abilities than God. David, more weak and insignificant, relied on God. He remained weak, but he relied on God. Trusting in God David prevailed over Goliath as we heard. David prevailed over his other goliath, Saul, who, after David’s victory hunted David to kill him.

Not only was God present to David, David’s presence mediated God’s presence! As Son of David, Jesus mediated God’s presence in a greater and unparalleled way, which Mark’s gospel strongly communicates to us.

When you hear, “A reading from the Gospel of Mark,” and when you pray from it or study it, think two words: Stronger One. Jesus went into the realm of Satan to conquer Satan. The encounters with evil spirits, those who knew his identity--Son of God--show that. Along with his deeds, even Jesus’ words commanded attention. In some attention registered as awe, but in others it registered as hate, driving them to plot to put him to death because Jesus made a man whole on the sabbath.

Mystery shrouding the Stronger One many find repugnant. It makes almost all of us dizzy: the Stronger One, the Son of God, died. Jesus relied on God though he was sorely tempted to do otherwise. The mystery of Jesus, dead-and-risen, is our mystery. Jesus invites us to trust him and allow him to make us whole.
/1/ 1Samuel 7. 3-6.
Wiki-image of Osmar Schindler's David and Goliath is in the public domain.

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