3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

Today’s First Reading shows the difference between how David lived his mission as king of Israel (and succeeded) and how Saul did (and failed): David sought to make the Lord shine in the presence of Israel by building a Temple for him, and Saul tried to make himself shine at the Lord’s expense by disobeying the Lord to score political points with Israel and giving the impression that the Lord approved. David was rewarded, as we saw yesterday, with the Lord’s promise of a house that would endure forever, in contrast the Saul being told by Samuel that his house was to end (and so it did).

David in today’s First Reading shows that he realizes his purpose is to second whatever the Lord asks of him as the key to a successful and happy life for him and for Israel. The Lord sees whether our hearts shine or not; appearances can only go skin deep. David realizes that the Lord took him from being nobody and made him king for the benefit of Israel, in service to the Lord; Saul became enslaved to public opinion and in so doing did not serve the Lord or Israel. In David’s prayer today he acknowledges how blessed Israel is to be the Lord’s people, not how lucky they are to have king David. If David asks that his house endure forever, it is only because the Lord promised it first; he would never have asked for it out of ambition. David didn’t seek for his house to endure forever, but the Lord promised it to him. Saul did a lot of bad things to try and make his house endure, and his house ended.

Let’s learn today from David’s prayer and attitude. Sometimes Our Lord in prayer helps to see what we should pray for and what we should not. That requires not just speaking in prayer, but listening as well. If we ask him to help us do whatever makes him shine in the eyes of men in service to them we know we’re on the right track. Let’s examine our lives today and see if there’s anything in them where we’re making ourselves shine at the Lord’s expense and to the disservice of our brothers and sisters. If we make him shine, if we give glory to him through our life, we will shine as well and serve others.

Readings: 2 Samuel 7:18–19, 24–29; Psalm 132:1–5, 11–14; Mark 4:21–25.