Read 2 Samuel 12:1-7,10-17, Ps. 51:12-17, Mark 4:35-41

“As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)

Many Christians today live by the eleventh commandment: “As long as no one is aware of my sin, I am a saint.” Instead of working on ourselves, we do everything possible to hide our sins from the public. A group of psychologists conducted an experiment where participants were given a simple task to do and report their scores. Each participant was put in a room alone in the first session, but in the second session, there was an observer. It was discovered that many participants inflated their scores when they did the task alone but reported exact scores when they saw the observer.

Like David, we even take the moral high ground when we hear of others’ faults without realising we are attempting to fight the same demon we possess. When David heard Nathan’s story, he was furious and proclaimed death on the culprit; little did he know that he had just passed judgment on himself. What does this teach us?

1. Nothing is Hidden Under the Sun: You may have heard this saying: “Live a good life so that no one has to lie about you during your funeral.” The fact that no one has confronted you yet does not mean that your sins are secret. David thought that by killing Uriah, people would think he married Bathsheba out of pity. I often wonder why those who hold powerful positions in society think they can fool the common man.

2. The Power of Storytelling: Stories have the power of penetrating our subconscious thoughts. The beauty of a good story is that it is easily remembered; this way, one must remember the message. Jesus Christ explored storytelling as a communication tool during his public ministry, and the stories He told thousands of years ago continue to strike our hearts today. Through storytelling, Nathan successfully delivered an uncomfortable message to David.

3. Learn to Package Value: It is one thing to tell someone their mouth is smelling, but there is a way to say it so they don’t feel insulted. Your manner of delivery (packaging) matters a lot. This is why a plate of rice sold for N1,500 in a local restaurant goes for N25,000 in a five-star hotel. You may have good intentions and plans (content), but you fail to achieve results without proper packaging. In other words, don’t rush. Think carefully before you speak and act. Do you think shouting (and raining insults) on your husband will stop him from cheating on you?

4. There are Consequences for Sins: Before Nathan came to David, he (like many of us today) was living in denial, clapping for himself for being a smart guy. David expressed contrition the moment he realised his faults, but this did not stop the consequences of his actions. Some of us take the sacrament of penance for granted. “Let me just do it… after all, I can always go for confession.” From David, we learn that we are not the only ones who suffer for our sins; our loved ones and family members are also affected.

Today's responsorial psalm says: “Create in me a pure heart.” David fell because he lusted after another man’s wife. This was not the first time David saw a beautiful woman having her bath, but unlike other occasions, he failed to take off his eyes because his heart was no longer pure. This is the same David who saw Saul sleeping and refused to kill him. It is easier to resist temptations when your heart is pure.

5. You are Afraid Because You Have No Faith: Although Nathan carefully packaged the message, it took great faith to confront David with the ugly truth. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus sleeps in a boat while the disciples panic due to the storm. Life is full of ups and downs. It may just be your season of storms. Don’t give up yet. Avoid making permanent decisions in moments of temporary crisis.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, remove any timidity from me. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of week 3 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 12:1-7,10-17, Ps. 51:12-17, Mark 4:35-41).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu