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Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, January 26, 2018



2Sm 12:1-7a,10-17; Ps 51:12-17; Mk 4:35-41
“Give me a pure heart, O God!”

David the King, the man after God’s own heart, let his lust overwhelm that heart and control his behavior. King David committed adultery. In our Responsorial Psalm we hear the story of his repentance. The King knew that without a clean heart and a steadfast spirit he could not remain in the LORD’s presence nor was he filled with the Holy Spirit. Like all who have sinned King David longed for the joy of salvation and a willing spirit within him. Both are necessary before David has anything to offer his people or anyone for that matter. Who can learn if the teacher has not learned? It is through this psalm that David comes to learn that there are consequences for behavior, even when you are the king. In his repentance he has taught all of us the greatest lesson of life. There is liberation for transgressors, and there is mercy for sinners to return to the LORD. King David longs to be free from bloodguilt—for the blood of Uriah stained his hands. He longs to revel in the justice of the LORD. So he prays for the word of the LORD to open his lips. Then and only then will his mouth proclaim the praise of the LORD. Sometimes we are summoned to be repentant like King David, and sometimes we are summoned to be bold like Nathan. In our baptism we are given a new identity in Christ; indeed, we are priest, prophet and king. Even now we are filled with awe like the first disciples of the Lord Jesus because we behold his power to triumph over the storms that wreak havoc in our souls and in our community. Indeed, we know the Lord’s victory abides in us even as we rest in him.

“Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king of Israel. I rescued you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your lord's house and your lord's wives for your own. I gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were not enough, I could count up for you still more. Why have you spurned the LORD and done evil in his sight? You have cut down Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you took his wife as your own, and him you killed with the sword of the Ammonites.” These are the verses that the lectionary leaves out of this story. Why? It adds nothing to David’s guilt. As a matter of fact it makes his guilt more like ours. We need to ask ourselves with all that the LORD has done for us why do we spurn him? Yet, it is just this kind of experience of guilt that enables us to understand our Easter Exultet when we sing: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” King David did not know how weak he was. He did not know how much he needed the saving love of the LORD. King David’s prophet did him a great favor by telling the truth. His announcement, “You’re the man!” began the process of David’s liberation. No longer could he hide behind his reputation or popularity. At this moment David knew that the Lord knew and held him responsible for his brother’s murder. Indeed, the very soil cried out like at the death of Abel. Sometimes the very text edited out for the lectionary is the very text that holds the key to understanding and allowing the Word of God to cut between the bone and marrow of our lives. Only such powerful prophecy can open us to the light of truth and the joy of repentance. Indeed, Psalm LI should be our prayer regularly at our celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It seems that the disciples are so lost in the storms all around them and deep within them. They have seen the crowds embrace the Lord Jesus, and they have witnessed the leaders completely reject him. “Who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?” This question arises from their journey with the Lord Jesus across the sea. The have already witnessed his power over of the demon of epilepsy, his power to heal a crippled hand even when it was dangerous to do so, his ability to release us from the power of sin to paralyze us. Yet, they seem so startled that he even has power of the demon of the storm. The Lord Jesus woke up from his slumber, his rest in the Father’s love, to say to the storm: “Quiet! Be still!” King David had to approach the LORD in repentance and trust in his power to save him. The Disciples had to approach the Lord Jesus in honest fear and trust in his power to save them. What do we need to say to the LORD? Are we repentant? Are we afraid of the storms that swirl around us or within us? He is near. He is with us in the bark of the church. We have nothing to fear. We need not be afraid of waking him up at most he’ll have a question or two for us. Indeed, the kind of question we need to hear on every journey we take.

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