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DAVID TEACHES US TO BE MERCIFUL

Father Francis's picture
Second Week of Ordinary Time

Sam. 24:3-21 & Mk. 3:13-19

One of the many titles by which Jesus was known is 'Son of David' and both Saint Matthew, and Saint Luke, trace His ancestry through Joseph back to David, and beyond. But Jesus was a Son of David in many more ways. For example, like David, He never acted out of revenge. In today's first reading, we see David in an ideal position to destroy King Saul who had been following him with the explicit intention to kill him. David's companions unanimously urged him to get Saul first, before Saul succeeded in accomplishing his evil mission. David briefly considered the possibility and then flatly rejected the advice of his companions. He spared the life of Saul.

One of the reasons why David did not strike out in revenge is his tremendous respect for the office of the king. The fact that David could reject adverse advice, control his revengeful feelings and display such outstanding respect for the office of the king, shows how very much qualified he was later to become king himself.

When we have been hurt or very badly let down, the idea of taking revenge can be very appealing. Others may even encourage us, telling us it is the right and wise thing to do. But the message that Jesus sent His disciples to preach was that we are all children of God and must show mercy to each other. David was given an opportunity to destroy his enemy, but he allowed him to go free. Jesus had the power to retaliate against those who plotted His downfall, but He never used that power.

The temptation to retaliate is very strong but let us ask Jesus to help us to resist it. We know that we can leave justice in God's hands, for He said, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” (Rom 12:19)

In today's Gospel passage Mark tells us that Jesus went up into the hills to pray about the men He would choose to be His close companions. He called 12 by name who responded without hesitation – they did not ask the cost or what was in it for them. In time they were to preach and cast out devils but at the outset would spend time with Jesus to learn what it meant to be an ‘Apostle’ – one sent by the Lord to teach His good news.

Through our baptism we all have a mission because we became disciples of Jesus then. We should be His companions, spending time with Him, willing and ready to spread the good news about Jesus to all, particularly by the lives we lead.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for calling us to be Your disciples, for the covenant You made with us at our Baptism, and for renewing it with us every time we are at Mass. Help us to be faithful to You in our everyday lives.

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