Don’t lose Hope!

We’re reading from the 2nd Book of Samuel this week at Mass. The first 8 chapters describe David’s accomplishments as an ideal king. He unites the tribes of Israel and conquers Jerusalem from the Jebusites to make it his capitol– his greatest military victory. (Monday).

 He brings the Ark of the Covenant and places it in a special tent in his capitol city, acknowledging God’s primacy over this kingdom. He listens to the prophet Nathan, acknowledging the prophetic voice, God’s voice, in Israel.

God says to David, through the Prophet Nathan: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.’” Unlike Saul’s throne, David’s throne will stand forever.  (Tuesday-Thursday) 

But chapters 9-20 of 2 Samuel describe David’s darker side, beginning with his murder of Uriah and taking his wife Bathsheba. That brings on him the accusation of the Prophet Nathan. (Friday-Saturday)  Though he repents, dire consequences follow his sin. Yet, God remains faithful to David and his people Israel. 

One reason we keep reading the Old Testament is to see Israel’s history unfold and hear the promises God makes to her, in spite of her sinfulness and infidelity. It helps us deal with our own times

I don’t think I have ever seen ordinary people and the news media so pessimistic about the future as they are today. There is even a pessimism about science, once infallible, now with clay feet. There is pessimism about our political system, our church, climate change. No hope, no vision for science, capitalism or politics, even the physical world itself– all the big engines of our society.

The scriptures match the bad news we face, but they never quench hope. That’s why we read them. God has a parent’s love for us, and so we shouldn’t succumb to pessimism. We’re David’s children, through Jesus Christ. “The future of humanity rests with people who are capable of providing the generations to come with reasons for living and for hope.” (Gaudium et spes, 32)

I like the responsory to today’s reading from 2 Samuel about David: “My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.” That’s meant for us all.

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