Read 2 Samuel 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3, Ps. 86:1-6, Mark 5:21-43

“The king asked the Cushite, ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ And the Cushite answered, ‘May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you for evil, be like that young man.’” (2 Samuel 18:32)

As with Saul, David did not lift a finger before gaining victory over Absalom. David fought this war on his knees; with a humbled, contrite heart, he cried for mercy, and God gave him a second chance. Once again, we learn that not all battles require physical fighting. There is nothing wrong with being security-conscious (or putting systems in place to protect oneself); we must not forget to add God to our security checklist by being on good terms with Him. Physical weapons are required for protection, but they are not enough.

Goliath approached David with a sword, a club and a spear (coupled with the advantage of his size, years of experience and physical strength), but his weapons were not enough. Saul went out with three thousand trained soldiers to capture David, but his weapons were insufficient. Absalom approached Jerusalem with an army of soldiers only to be caught hanging in a thick oak tree. His weapons also failed him. What do we learn from this young man’s fall?

1. Avoid Dirty Politics: In your desire for power, remember that the position you seek is not worth one person's life. Absalom had all the physical qualities for kingship, but he lacked one thing – a solid relationship with God. In his quest for power, Absalom did a lot of terrible atrocities. Actions have consequences. You don’t have to offend God to get into any position. Remember that all power belongs to God. If that seat is meant for you, it will come to you.

2. Learn to Evaluate Every Advice: Absalom’s greatest mistake was assuming that all surrounding him were loyal to his cause. It is not all those who are singing your praises and cheering you on that mean well for you. Absalom had the privilege of hearing Ahithophel’s wise counsel but ignored it and chose to go by Hushai’s advice because it seemed more pleasing in his ears. Absalom did not know that Hushai came from David’s camp.

3. Speed Kills - Drive with Care: The remote cause of Absalom’s death was over-speeding. One common behaviour of youths is over-speeding coupled with a lack of concentration. Absalom was driving his mule at a top speed but failed to see the oak tree ahead of him. Even those riding with him (his fellow youths) did not notice he was gone; they kept going as though it was race. Recently, I saw a viral post by the Federal Road Safety Corps about certain hymns we should sing at certain speeds. At 160km/hr, the best song is: “Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee…” At 180km/hr, sing: “I come to thee my Lord my God…” Beyond driving, learn to take life easy. As a youth, remember that the race is not always for the swift, and the battle is not always for the strong. (Cf. Ecclesiastes 9:11).

4. The Power of a Father’s Love: Even though David knew Absalom’s intentions, he wept for him profusely upon hearing about his death. No father will hear about the death of a child and rejoice. This brings us to today’s Gospel passage. A synagogue official, Jarius, met Jesus, knelt before him and begged him to heal his daughter, who was at the point of death. This is what every responsible Father should do.

5. Faith in God Moves Mountains: The woman with the issue of blood in today’s Gospel passage had explored all known medical remedies to no avail. She touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, fully convinced it would work. There are some Christians today who refuse to visit the hospital or take drugs when they are sick in the name of “God will heal me.” This is very wrong. Faith is not opposed to medicine; rather, it complements it. God wants to heal you, but this healing will not happen in a vacuum; don’t neglect your drugs.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, free me from pride and over-ambition. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of week 4 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3, Ps. 86:1-6, Mark 5:21-43).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu