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3rd Week, Wednesday: Reflection & Liturgy

2 Sam 7:4-17 / Mark 4:1-21

God makes a promise to David: “Your kingdom will last forever.”
God’s promise to David is the cornerstone of Israel’s hope for a messiah. He will come from David’s line, establish God’s kingdom in Israel, and extend it to the ends of the earth. The word messiah is Hebrew. It’s rendered christos in Greek, from which we get our word Christ. The word messiah is best translated “anointed” in English. The fulfillment of God’s promise to David was realized in Jesus. The angel told Mary: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and . . . his kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:32-33

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Are we letting the kingdom of God take strong root in our own heart? “I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.” Charles H. Spurgeon
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Jesus started His ministry by teaching in the synagogues.
In today's gospel, we see a switch in style. He goes into the open: at the seashore, and the fishing boat becomes the pulpit. But a more profound switch was from lecture-style teaching to simple parables about everyday life, although the purpose was still the same, i.e. to teach the people about eternal life. The switch was only natural, because for the common people, stories attract their attention, and they are easy to remember.

But the purpose of Jesus in using stories or parables goes deeper than just getting their attention. A parable like the sower and the seed tests the hearts of the people, as well as our hearts. When our hearts are open, we will be able to sense the truth of the teachings of Jesus.

Just as in the 1st reading, the prophet Nathan sensed it was the word of the Lord that was being announced to him and he opened his heart to receive it. Yet, nonetheless, God will also respect our freedom. The parables of Jesus contain enough light for us who want to know the truth. We have the freedom to step into the light of truth, or to remain in the shadow of darkness.
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Wednesday of 3rd Week - Liturgy

THE SEED OF THE KINGDOM

Introduction
A man of faith, David wants to build a house for God, to house the Ark of the Covenant, as the Ark was the sign of God’s presence and union with his people. But David’s loyalty to the covenant is enough for God. Instead, God will build a house for David: his royal house will be the origin of the coming Savior; through this Savior God will dwell with his people for ever. In this Eucharist, we celebrate the joy of having God present among his people.
Why has the kingdom of God not taken deeper roots among us? Why does it grow so slowly? In today’s Gospel, Mark states that this is a mystery of God’s efforts and people’s lack of depth and understanding. The kingdom is here among us, but it meets the slowing down resistance of people. It is hard to respond to the demands of the Gospel, to be converted to God’s plan with us, to form a community that lives according to God’s norms and witnesses to God’s presence. Are we willing to be that community which promotes the growth of God’s kingdom?

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, we experience day after day how difficult it is to accept you and to let your kingdom grow among us. Overcome our resistance, dispose us to accept you on your own terms, without any preconceived ideas. Let the seed of your Son’s Gospel bear rich fruit in us, that he may live and reign among us, now and for ever.

Commentary
Chapter 7 of the Second Book of Samuel represents a watershed in Old Testament thought. It marks the beginning of the messianic hope in Israel. Nathan approaches David with a message from the Lord that will shape Israelite thought for centuries to come. David is to be the father of a lasting dynasty, kings who will preside over a nation that is blessed and peaceful.
The desire of David to build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem will not be realized. It will belong to his son, Solomon, to realize that dream. Even though subsequent heirs to David’s throne may disappoint, punishment will follow but not rejection of the promise. The line of David will be perpetual.
Later prophets expounded on this Davidic theme. It explains why the evangelists were at pains to present Jesus as the son of David. The line of David continues in the person of Jesus.
Each year we celebrate the kingship of Jesus, even as we recognize that his kingdom is like no other. He rules by persuasion. To belong to him is entirely a matter of choice. To make his kingdom our own is to become that fertile soil of today’s Gospel wherein the seed grows thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. We are all part of God’s special design, and we pray that we shall never disappoint.
The reign of God is sometimes referred to as “the sweet empire of God’s love.” It is a great blessing to be citizens of that empire.

Points to Ponder
The kingdom of David
The role of Solomon
God’s reign in our life

Intercessions
– For those who spread the word of the Good News: pastors and missionaries, catechists and teachers, that they may keep sowing the seed, even when they see no harvest yet, we pray:
– For those who are not moved by the word of God, that the Church may hear their silent yearning and speak the word in such a way that they see that it pertains to their life and happiness, we pray:
– For those who have remained deaf to the word of God, that they may be moved by it when they see it flowering and bearing fruit in the lives of good Christians, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father, we bring before you bread and wine, the fruits of the harvest. Sow in us the seeds of life of the body and blood of your Son, that we may yield a rich harvest of justice and love on account of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God of power and love, you have spoken to us your word of life. We have spoken to you a response of good intentions and promises. Let your word take firm roots in the depths of our very being, that we may keep speaking it in deeds of  commitment to one another which are acts of faith in your future and in your living Word, Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever.

Blessing
And God sows. He sends the rain and the sunshine to make the seed blooms and grows and bears fruit. But do we let the seed mature and grow? Bear fruit, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.