Friday, February 5, 2016


Sirach 47:2-11; Ps 18 Blessed be God my salvation; Mark 6:14-29

Today in the book of Sirach we get an obituary of the life of David the king.  We are given a summation of his life and legacy.

Beautiful and inspiring words are laid before us to meditate on.  So much to think about. "With his every deed he offered thanks to GodMost High, in words of praise.  With his whole being he loved his maker and daily had his praises sung; "

What a marvelous description!  What a beautiful legacy!

As we read this biographical litany of David's accomplishments including his courage and musical prowess there is one glaring absence:  What about his mistakes?  What about his not so good decisions?  What about his terrific sins?  What about the Adultery, murder, cover up, scandal?

None of this makes the cut, rather we are told simply: "The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever."

And in keeping with simplicity the acknowledgement of his need for forgiveness is sufficient.  There is no need for the dirty details, unlike in today's society where everyone's dirty laundry is aired out publicly.  No…It is sufficient to celebrate forgiveness for it isn't the sin that makes God's mercy so great but rather the greatness of God that exalts mercy in all conditions it is  bestowed.  Mercy is not greater or less.  It just is simply bestowed when sought.

This is the truth of David.  He was humble enough to seek the mercy of God and there he found true strength.   "The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever."

The next time we go to confession and celebrate God's mercy and loving tenderness, Let us be reminded that in that moment not only are we forgiven but we are strengthened. God doesn't just restore us with his forgiveness but elevates us and strengthens us and raises us a little higher than before.

I believe it is this experience of mercy and strength that enabled David "with his whole being" to "love his maker and daily had his praises sung."

Imagine this image of today's first reading, "He added beauty to the feasts and solemnized the seasons of each year So that when the Holy Name was praised, before daybreak the sanctuary would resound."

What a beautiful imagine!  When we praise the Holy Name the temple of our body should resound if we we truly appreciate the mercy offered and the mercy given to us daily on our walk.

Just a look at the gospel briefly.

We hear these words in the gospel about King Herod after the girl requested the head of John the Baptist, "the King was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and his guest  he did not wish to break his word to her."

This word "deeply distressed" is the same greek word used to describe Jesus in his agony when he tells his apostles he is "very sorrowful" unto death.   The same emotion and state of mind fills both Jesus and Herod, yet two different responses to this interior reality is embraced and the results are quite telling.

Herod represses it and turns his attention to saving face in front of the crowd and thus love is betrayed by pride. Jesus enters into it, falls to his knees and prays for strength to fulfill the Father's will, and strength is bestowed in his act of humility and love shines through.

Interesting to note how we experience many emotions and a variety of interior states and yet our response to it can bring such drastic and different results.  Humility always ensures that love shines through no matter what.  Pride disfigures love and keeps God's healing embrace from transforming us.

We have a tale of three kings:  David, Herod, Jesus.
Ponder a new and invite humility to shine the way.

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