2nd Week, Tuesday: Reflection & Liturgy

1 Sam 16:1:13 / Mark 2:23-28

God chooses David: Samuel anointed David as king.

The patron of parish priests is St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. He performed so poorly in his priestly studies that seminary officials seriously questioned if he were intelligent enough to be ordained.
The pastor to whom he was assigned after ordination considered him too stupid to preach. Yet, as the years passed, people came to the cure from all over Europe to seek his advice and to confess to him. Some days he spent up to 14 hours in the confessional.
David too was an unlikely candidate to succeed Saul as king. He was considered so unlikely that his father, Jesse, had him tend the sheep while his seven brothers met with Samuel. Yet it was David whom God chose as king.
Do we tend to judge people on the basis of externals? “Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
If we were to think of an example of a dilemma, then we need look no further than in the 1st reading. The prophet Samuel was in a dilemma. A dilemma can be described as a difficult or perplexing situation or problem. He was told by God to anoint someone that He had chosen to be king. Yet Samuel was well aware that he was under the watchful eyes of king Saul. Though he was faced with such a dilemma, God was the one who showed him the way out of that situation. The solution is none other than that of a religious one - to offer sacrifice. Well, what other solutions would one expect from God other than a religious one. Certainly, with God it is always a religious solution.

What we heard about in the gospel was a religious problem - the picking of corn on the Sabbath, which was something forbidden, though we are not sure where was it stated that it was forbidden.

We too have our religious problems in our day, e.g. "Is it ok to work on Sundays?"; "Can priests be involved in politics?" ; "Why can't women become priests?"

These questions may sound simple but the answers are certainly difficult.

These and such other questions indeed put us into a dilemma for answers.

But like in the case of Samuel, God is always offering us the religious solution rather than a logical rational answer.

When we turn to God to show us the way out of a dilemma, God's solution far surpasses our human logical rational thinking. Though it will certainly entail some sacrifice.

For God's ways are far above our ways, His thoughts far surpass our thoughts.


Tuesday of 2nd Week of Ordinary Time  


Introduction    God’s ways are not our ways... What is weak attracts his strength. He confounds the mighty by selecting the least and the powerless to do his work. This perennial inversion of values is found in the vocation and election stories of the Old Testament, like David’s in today’s first reading, and will be deepened and presented as fundamental in the New Testament. Is not, after all, the scandal of the cross the deepest expression of this?  The function of laws is to order relationships within the community so as to safeguard the rights of God and of the people around us, and to make us aware of our social responsibilities. Yet, experience tells us that it is a perpetual human temptation to turn laws into absolutes, to make people servants of the law rather than the law a servant of people. Jesus reminds us of the priority of people and the human community over the letter of the law.   

Opening Prayer   
Lord our God, it is easier for us to seek safety in observing laws and customs than to be personally responsible for the people around us and to serve you with the freedom of love.  Give us a bit of your own fantasy, send us the Holy Spirit to fill us with your own inventive and creative love, that we may ever seek new ways to reach out to you and to one another.  Grant this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Commentary    The selection of David to be king took an unusual tack. Son of Jesse he was, but the last in line. A young sheep herder, he was un-tempered by experience, perhaps the least prepared of all his brothers. The standards of his selection were not human, but those of a God who makes greatness out of nothing. Saul had long since out served his usefulness and was rejected as king. It is the tribe of Judah that will now be the standard bearer.  It is undeniable that on more than one occasion, David proved to be a disappointment. The candor of the Book of Samuel in recounting his misdeeds is refreshing. There is no attempt to gild the lily. But even with his human failings, David was a faithful Yahwist. He did not compromise God’s sovereignty by introducing pagan cult. When he sinned, he asked for forgiveness with deep expressions of sorrow. When his son Absalom revolted against him, Absalom was killed—even if it caused the king no small amount of anguish. He wanted to see the temple built in Jerusalem, a task that was left to his son Solomon.  Many of us today have mixed feelings about the political arena. We have strong feelings about the presence of corruption and dishonesty. It was not much different in the time of the Jewish monarchy. The greater number of the kings proved to be disappointments. Yet they are still present in the genealogies as Jesus’ ancestors. God went beyond human expectations. Once again God wrote straight with crooked lines.   

Points to Ponder
The selection of David
David’s character 
Importance of political integrity   

– That Christians may regard the commandments as doors to freedom from sin and evil and as ways to serve God and people, we pray:
 – That lawmakers everywhere make laws that are humane and serve the good of all, we pray: 
– That Sunday may be for us a special occasion to grow in love of those who are dear to us, to visit the sick and to serve the needy, we pray:   

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father, you let the sun shine and the rain fall over the fields sowed by the farmer to satisfy his hunger with bread and rice.  Alleviate our hunger for goodness and love and things that last with the bread of eternal life, Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives with you and with us, now and for ever.   

Prayer after Communion   
God our Father, we turn our laws and even yours into absolutes by which we imprison ourselves and others.  And then, you give us yourself in your Son to remind us that what counts is how we live for you and for one another and share ourselves with each other.  Let this Eucharist fill us with the mentality of your Son, that we may be present to one another with a liberating love.  For you have set us free from all servitude through Jesus Christ, our Lord.   

Laws are made for people, not people for laws. This applies also to God’s laws. They are guidelines, helps for people, not instruments of oppression. May Almighty God bless you and help you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.