In recent months, we Americans have become sadly aware of what a problem it is to transfer power from one presidential administration to another. This is nothing inew in the world. Throughout history, conflicts and wars have plagued nation-states as they maneuver a change in leadership. The history of ancient Israel is no exception. The Bible is full of tragic stories of deposed kings and rulers imposed by foreign powers vying for power. The story of King Saul and David is perhaps the most classic conflict of politcal succession in the Bible.
By the end of his rule, Saul had become a totally corrupt leader, bent on doing anything he could to retain power. His goal was to kill David, his main competitor for the throne. In today’s first reading, David finally gains the upper hand and has Saul completely at this mercy. Finally, David can exact his vengeance for all the harm Saul has inflicted upon him. What does David do to retaliate against Saul?
This first reading is a good backdrop to the gospel reading. We are continuing the “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke’s gospel, the part where Jesus teaches how we should treat our enemies. David very much abided by the lesson that the gospel teaches us.
Our second reading is vintage St. Paul as he reflects upon the contrast and connection between our human nature and the gift of divine grace that so exalts us.
—Walter Modrys SJ
This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.