David's Last Moments

Thursday of Week 4 in Ordinary Time - Cycle II

1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12 & Mk. 6:7-13

David knows his death is near and so, very peacefully and in a calm voice, he speaks his last words to Solomon, his son and king to be. He had witnessed so much death in his long life; most of those who were very close to him in this world had already gone to their rest. For them he had wept bitter tears.

David does not question why he must die or try to fend off death for a few more days. Wisdom has taught him to accept death as God's will for all, as he expresses himself in relation to his sin, "I am going the way of all humankind". David says nothing about his own future but concentrates on that of the nation. He prays that Solomon will have a very successful reign and encourages him to be faithful to the laws and decrees of Moses.

Had David been as faithful to them as he ought, no doubt his life would have seen far less sorrow and turmoil. He dies now as an old man, but with the same courage he had had as a teenager when he single-handedly conquered Goliath. Death is the giant he now faces.

His passing teaches us that there is no sense in being death-denying people. It is far better to accept death as part of life. Jesus has shown us that, for those who believe, life is not ended, merely changed, and when the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, our soul gains an everlasting dwelling place in Heaven. The Lord urges us to remain faithful to Him with our whole heart and our whole soul. Fidelity is David’s last recommendation, too, to his son.

The 12 Apostles had seen Jesus face many desperate situations during His ministry as He drew the needy to God through healing and forgiveness. They had also witnessed first-hand how Jesus' power could be held back by unbelief, as happened in His hometown. Now, Jesus was sending them out - ordinary folk though they were - to minister to others just as He had done. They truly had to step out in faith and trust their Lord and Master.

They knew that they could bring about peace, love and faith only in the measure that they allowed Jesus to minister through them. He had commissioned them to bring the power of the Gospel to all who would receive it, and so they were careful not to claim credit for their works. Instead they allowed God to work in them to bring the Good News to many. "They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them."

God wants all of us to share in every aspect of His life. When we were baptised each of us was commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel. Obstacles encountered in ourselves or in others may seem discouraging, but to Jesus they are opportunities for His love and power to prevail. After all, Jesus came for all sinners, and that definitely includes us! God loves to work through humble and submissive hearts, through people who understand and appreciate the privilege of being His instruments in this world.

The popular 'peace prayer' of Saint Francis of Assisi can teach us the attitude we need to adopt whenever we seek to minister God's mercy to others,

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is darkness let me sow light".

St Francis knew that he could be effective only in the measure he allowed God to work through him. Like the Twelve he went about Assisi proclaiming the power of the Gospel to all who would accept it. Let us step out in faith today to pray for all the needy, the lost and the sick - that is our privilege as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus we believe You hear every prayer. Make us messengers of Your love and peace to others. Stretch out Your hand in power to heal all those we pray for today.