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February 01, 2022

2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30–19:3

Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging* between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A man saw it, and told Joab, ‘I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.’ Joab said, ‘I will not waste time like this with you.’ He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak.

Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. The king said, ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still. The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

A Parent’s Love

Today’s passage from 2 Samuel is taken from a larger story about King David’s treasonous son, Absalom, who has done some terrible things. Still, David does not want to see his son pay for these crimes with his life. Against David’s wishes, Joab executes Absalom anyway. He shows Absalom justice, but not mercy. Like Joab, we may think that David should care more about Israel than a duplicitous son. Are his priorities as a leader in the right place?

The bond between a parent and child is powerful. It may even become stronger in fraught times when a child seems most in danger. This may bring to mind our bond with God the Father, who never forgets that we are more than our worst acts. David mirrors God’s deep and abiding love for us when he weeps a parent’s tears for a beloved child lost to the darkness of sin.

When Jesus is called “Son of David” in the Gospels, it is a title that connects him with a complex human being and a messy human story. Today we see a parent who aches with love for an errant child. Can we look with the eyes of Jesus, who joins us in the mess of sin, and see everyone we meet as God’s children? Can we ask for the grace to show mercy? To forgive?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits West Province completing his final semester of theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He will be ordained to the priesthood in June 2022.

Prayer

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

—From Psalm 22
Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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February 01, 2022

2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30–19:3

Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging* between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A man saw it, and told Joab, ‘I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.’ Joab said, ‘I will not waste time like this with you.’ He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak.

Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. The king said, ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still. The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

A Parent’s Love

Today’s passage from 2 Samuel is taken from a larger story about King David’s treasonous son, Absalom, who has done some terrible things. Still, David does not want to see his son pay for these crimes with his life. Against David’s wishes, Joab executes Absalom anyway. He shows Absalom justice, but not mercy. Like Joab, we may think that David should care more about Israel than a duplicitous son. Are his priorities as a leader in the right place?

The bond between a parent and child is powerful. It may even become stronger in fraught times when a child seems most in danger. This may bring to mind our bond with God the Father, who never forgets that we are more than our worst acts. David mirrors God’s deep and abiding love for us when he weeps a parent’s tears for a beloved child lost to the darkness of sin.

When Jesus is called “Son of David” in the Gospels, it is a title that connects him with a complex human being and a messy human story. Today we see a parent who aches with love for an errant child. Can we look with the eyes of Jesus, who joins us in the mess of sin, and see everyone we meet as God’s children? Can we ask for the grace to show mercy? To forgive?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits West Province completing his final semester of theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He will be ordained to the priesthood in June 2022.

Prayer

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

—From Psalm 22
Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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