1 Samuel 24: 3-21 “…’Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the LORD delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me….May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession…”
Psalm 57: 2, 3, 4, 6 and 11 “May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness...”
Mark 3: 13-19 “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed 12, whom he also named Apostles...”
Saint Sebastian – 257? – 288? A.D., nothing is certain about this saint, he became a martyr so long ago. It is believed he became a Roman soldier so he could get close to the persecuted Christian people, but he was discovered and was ordered to be killed. Although they did not succeed in completely stomping out his life the first time, they did take his life with a second attempt. His bravery in the face of death was heralded in several martyrologies, and was part of the reason the Christian faith spread rapidly.
In going through a Bible study class one year in which we stayed in the Old Testament, I found these readings of Samuel, Saul and David to be some of the more interesting. The people were so real and full of life. They didn’t seem so different from people today and I found myself connecting with them, even to the level that they may have been my blood relatives. In today’s reading, we get to look into one of the many portholes where David’s heart and loyalty are displayed. He has been criticized and ridiculed by King Saul, mostly because he is a very good soldier and the Israelite people have really connected with him. King Saul is jealous of his accomplishments. But despite David having to put up with Saul’s shortcomings, including his pursuit of David’s life; when David has an opportunity to slay his King, he can’t do it. David honors the LORD and respects the fact that the Lord has anointed Saul as King, and so he spares Saul’s life.
“I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.” (Psalm 57: 3&4) It is just as appropriate to hear this prayer from David’s lips as we ourselves call out to the Lord today. We can all think of instances where we feel we are trampled upon; by our families, our friends, our co-workers. It is a good reminder for us to turn to God in prayer to help carry us through to the Light during these times.
In Mark’s Gospel today, Jesus names the twelve apostles, those who will be with Him; who will preach and drive out demons. No one had driven out demons before Jesus. This was a significant sign, even though there were those who would attribute the power to Satan. Not only did Jesus appoint them, but He called them by name, which was also significant in that day. Those He called were “Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” (Mark 3:16-19)
One can not help but draw a parallel between the anointing in the first reading and the appointing in the Gospel reading. From the Old and the New Testaments, we see both events carrying honor and weighting. Oh, to have the honor & respect of David from that era. Of King Saul, who had grown to hate him, David said, “I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead. I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.” (1 Samuel 24:11) As Jesus is appointing and naming the Twelve in the Gospel reading, let us take our cue from David and grow in respect for one another. Let us also not forget the Saint Apostles, and call upon them in intercessory prayer. These men, whom Jesus drew near to Him, were His supporters, and they were among the first to understand the teaching of Jesus Christ. If we feel the Lord directing us, but we don’t understand something about the direction, we can call upon his Apostles to help us understand Christ’s heart for us. The Apostles grew to know the heart of Jesus and through them Jesus grew to better understand our frail human condition.
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