A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The opposition

Both of today’s readings involve famous and deadly confrontations with powerful opponents.

In the first reading (from 1 Samuel 17), we hear the famous story of David and Goliath’s battle to the death.

In the Gospel (Mark 3:1-6), the Pharisees’ opposition to our Lord reaches a deadly turning point.

Both of these confrontations are instructive for our own lives.

Many times we as people of faith may feel like David, confronted by the malevolent giant of modern culture: armed with the sword of bureaucracy and the spear of mass media.

David’s words may thus give us courage:

Thou comest to me
with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield:
but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel,
which thou hast defied.

(The word translated traditionally here as "shield" is obscure. Several modern translations use "javelin" and the Lectionary uses "scimitar". The word "buckler" - a small shield that can be used to strike an opponent - is also used.)

Many times we may also feel something of what our Lord felt when facing the unlistening obstinance of the Pharisees.

But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

We too face many people in this world whose minds are closed to Christ and the truth.

Our Lord’s example reminds us that it is okay to feel upset about such stubborn rejection and opposition, but that we need to follow his example and persevere in doing what is truly good and in speaking the truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.