Read 2 Samuel 15:13-14,30,16:5-13, Ps. 3:2-8, Mark 5:1-20

“Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on my distress, and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” (2 Samuel 16:11-12)

In today’s first reading, David is on the run again, this time from his son, Absalom, who was determined to kill him and enthrone himself as king of Israel. How did things get this bad? Why was Absalom not afraid to challenge David? After David’s affair with Uriah’s wife and his subsequent murder, David loses moral authority in his household. One of his sons, Amnon, felt that since David could afford to take another man’s wife, he too could have his half-sister, Tamar. Shocked that David refused to punish Amnon for his, Absalom, Tamar’s sister, orchestrated revenge and had Amnon put to death.

Absalom fled to Geshur, and upon his return, he obtained David’s pardon by trick. Surprised again that David did not punish him, Absalom was convinced that David had become weak. Pretending to be David’s Minister of Justice, Absalom garnered political support and then declared himself king at Hebron. When David heard that Absalom had declared himself king, he knew what would come next, so he fled. Rather than wage war against Absalom (as Saul did against him), David cried to God for mercy. What does this teach us?

1. David Applied Wisdom by Begging for God’s Mercy: Saul and David offended God, but the difference is that while Saul tried to justify himself (give excuses for his disobedience), David wept profusely. David got a second chance at the throne, but Saul never did. It is bad to fall into sin, but it is even worse when you refuse to admit your fault or beg for mercy. Heaven is full of sinners who begged for mercy (for instance, the thief who asked Jesus to remember him in paradise), but hell is full of self-righteous persons who felt they were too holy to say, “I am sorry.” Perhaps it has been a while since you had a good confession; don’t end up like Saul; learn from David to beg (cry to God) for mercy.

2. Not all Battles Require Physical Fighting: As St. Paul would say, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.” Guns and cutlasses can never win certain battles; they could worsen the situation. David (who defeated Goliath as a teenager) understood the game of battle very well; he knew that taking up physical weapons when God was angry with him would be futile. While David fled, Shimei came out to rain curses on him. David did not allow Abishai to strike Shimei. Instead, David prayed that God would convert these curses into blessings. You don’t have to respond to every insult. If God is on your side, He will fight for you. Ensure you are on good terms with God.

3. Not all Sicknesses are Physical: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus cures a demoniac living among the tombs. No one could bind him, not even with chains. He was ostracised from the community and considered dead (even while alive). This demoniac represents a heart hardened by sin, a dead conscience, one who sees nothing wrong with whatever he does, one who cannot say “I am sorry”, or one who refuses to take instructions (cannot be bound by chains). This condition is worse than any physical sickness. If you believe you are perfect or that you don’t know anyone, know that you are not different from this demoniac; you need healing. Jesus wants to free you, but you must beg Him like David.

4. Human Life is Precious: Jesus did not mind the loss of an entire herd of swine to save one man. We live in a world where people are killed in exchange for cows (and other livestock). We have become like those who sent Jesus out of their community because they feared that if Jesus cured more demoniacs, they would suffer more economic loss. Do not value money more than a human being. To do this is to lose your humanity.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, grant me a humble and contrite heart. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of week 4 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 15:13-14,30,16:5-13, Ps. 3:2-8, Mark 5:1-20).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu