Reflection: 3rd Friday in Ordinary Time

Mass: Friday, January, 29, 2010
First Reading: 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17
Responsorial Psalm: 51:3-4, 5-6a, 6bcd-7, 10-11
Gospel: Mk 4:26-34

Musical excerpts in this reflection are from Leonard Cohen’s song, Hallelujah.

This first verse begins to describe the story of King David who was had an intimate relation with God and from his childhood was a talented musician. Pleasing the Lord could refer both to King Saul and literally the Lord.

David was blessed by God. After the mourning of Saul and winning the civil war, God promised David four things:

  1. That he would have a son to rule after him
  2. That his son would build the temple
  3. That the throne that occupied his lineage would be established forever
  4. And that God would never take His mercy from David’s house.

David truly wanted to follow God and was in turn blessed by God. But, we see in the first reading today that anyone can fall, even someone as blessed as him.

The second verse describes today’s reading of David and Bathsheba.

This story about David can be told in three simple sentences.

Walking on the roof of his house he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. He sent and inquired about her. And then he took. In those three sentences you have a pretty good description of the processes of temptation. Any temptation in your life and mine could follow this pattern. It starts first with desire stirred in us simply because of human nature. There is nothing wrong with this but the desire is there, and it must be dealt with when it arises.

It can be dealt with properly at that point or it could be formed into something else. David saw the beautiful woman, desired her and then started to work out a way that he could take her. He sent and inquired about her. Then David, the one blessed by God, finds himself committing adultery. This weakened his relationship with God as we hear described in the song as the “broken throne.”

When it was accomplished, he refused to face the music, like so many of us try to do. Instead of openly confessing and acknowledging what he did wrong, and trying to make it right, he committed another sin to cover up. This is always the process of sin. If you commit one sin, you commit another to cover that one up, and then more to cover up the second one. And so on and so on as we later find David eventually responsible for murder. David’s sin with Bathsheba shows us how anyone can fall to temptation.

In a verse from Corinthians we read, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” David’s sin with Bathsheba should be a warning to us that we need to be careful to not let our pride take over our spritual maturity and ability to withstand temptation in our own strength.

So, in preparing for today, as is my tendency, I focused completely on the Gospel first. Thoughts of middle school when I started my Catholic education were brought back. At that time we used this parable to describe something like love and goodness, and all the other fluffy stuff.

So, the other day when I shared the Gospel with a co-worker, I was totally confused with her take on it. She brought a different view on it that, at first, given the Gospel alone, made no sense.

She said, “Well, we’re planting seeds all the time. It’s the seeds you plant early in your life that will affect you later. In our younger years, we are trying to find who we are and that’s when we pant a lot of seeds. Sometimes we plant good seeds that turn into something beautiful and sometimes we plant seeds that come back to bite us. We don’t usually realize what we planted until were older.”

In my head, I was like, “What are you talking about?” I thought that she was totally off-base and that what she was saying was great; but, as far as an interpretation to the Gospel, she was really far from it. Now again at the time I hadn’t even looked at the first reading about David and Bathsheba, but later on in the day when I did, her words actually made some sense.

Tying the Gospel to the reading, I wonder what kinds of seeds David planted. Before he became king of Israel and Judah, what were those seeds that grew to eventually lead him to all of his triumphs. Also, what were those seeds that grew to eventually lead him to adultery with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, and all of the other troubles we find in the second half of the second book of Samuel.

This could be something we  could think about today. What are those tiny seeds that we are planting? Are these seeds, when fully grown, be ones that we will be thankful for or ones that will come back to bite us. What kinds of seeds will we plant today?

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