In the Aftermath of David
“Nobody roots for Goliath...” ~ Wilt Chamberlain
In many respects, today’s 1st Reading (Sirach 47:2-11), a radiant tribute and farewell to David, resembles that of a resume authored on behalf of the legendary King, the man of whom Ben Sira said “made sport of lions as though they were kids, and of bears, like lambs of the flock.”
Digging deeper into this passage, here are a few more “resume bullets” - I’ll choose the ones I would highlight and emphasize if I were he, perhaps on the verge of a big interview:
“When he was still a boy, he killed a giant to rescue his people. He put a stone in his sling, took aim, and put an end to Goliath's bragging.“ (2:4)
“He wiped out all his enemies and permanently crushed the Philistines, so that they never again became a threat.“ (2:7)
“He put singers at the altar to provide beautiful music.” (2:9)
Project manger who works well under pressure, problem solver, great delegator and outstanding time management and calendar skills. I’ve gotta think he’d be a cinch for at least a 2nd interview, no? We’re told in the waning words of this passage that “ The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever; He conferred on him the rights of royalty and established his throne in Israel.” (2:11).
David as we know perpetrated the grave crimes of adultery and murder; yet he did not give up. He wisely and swiftly sought repentance, and in doing so regained the grace of prophecy.
There are many other Biblical figures who did the same. Saint Peter, the rock upon which our Church was built, the keeper of the keys, is perhaps the most famous example. The people of Nineveh, at the urging of Jonah are yet another one. So repentant were they that the King of Nineveh himself donned sackcloth and ashes, as did the animals. So moved was Jesus by these acts of penance and humility that the Ninevites were spared the wrath of God.
“Why would you die, house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18,31), and why do we choose everlasting death rather than immortal life that is set before us? Jesus cries out each day, "Come to me all you that toil and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11,28).
Therein lies the lesson of David. May it guard and rule our lives from now until we stand before Jesus.
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" ~ Mark 1:15