Thu, 18 January 2018
(1Sm.24:3-21; Ps.57:2-4,6,11; Mk.3:13-19)
“Sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”
Today we see David at perhaps his most humble and obedient in the sight of God – we see why he is the great king of Israel.
David is being hunted down by Saul once again in his jealousy. His psalm, our psalm today, is his cry for protection from the Lord in whom he trusts: “I call to God Most High, to God, my benefactor. May He send from heaven and save me.” To the cave in which he hides, God sends his pursuer, vulnerable and at arm’s length. But this man who will be king of the Israelites by God’s ordination refrains from taking the sword into his hand to kill the man who would kill him. Why? Because Saul is yet the king, “the Lord’s anointed,” whom David even calls “a father to me” despite the threat he is to his life. Such an act of respect, such an understanding of the obedience due God and His will is unparalleled in Scripture. This is David. This is the king.
And how tragic a figure is Saul. Upon having his eyes turned inward to his very soul and the injustice he wreaks upon David, he weeps aloud in recognition of his sin: “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.” It is he who speaks the words of our quote today, he who recognizes the truly kingly nature of David… Yet for all his penance and insight it shall not be long before his jealousy leads him to pursue David unrighteously once again. He cannot escape his envy for David’s blessing.
And in our gospel we read of the blessed apostles of Christ, those “men He Himself had decided on,” whom He summoned and “who came and joined Him.” These “He would send to preach the Good News”; these would “have authority to expel demons.” They are named by name for us today: here is the foundation of the Church in which God dwells. Here are His blessed kings of the New Jerusalem. Let us not be jealous of them. Let no man attempt to breach the authority given them; for pursue them as one would, none shall take their blessing away – it is they who are ordained by God for His service. Humbly let us join them in their sovereignty over Israel. Obediently let us come into the Lord’s kingdom.
O LORD, though your justice is beyond our reach,
in your mercy make us your disciples.
YHWH, those whom you appoint must be respected. It is you who anoint the king and ordain apostles. Jesus is your only Son and He has chosen the Twelve to follow Him. Who are we to go against His will and pursue them and those who continue in their stead?
O LORD, you have made Peter the rock of your Church and given all your apostles power to preach the Gospel and expel all demons. At their hands your presence becomes real, of your Son’s flesh and blood we partake, and we are forgiven our sins. If David your chosen could not kill an unjust king because of your blessing upon him, how much less can we usurp the power of the bishops and priests who stand this day in the very place of Jesus? O let us learn the respect and obedience to your will that King David has clearly shown!
You protect your righteous ones, dearest LORD and God. And so we need have no fear as long as we take refuge in your justice.