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Um David, Not Cool

First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

jan 29

I know you’re king and everything, but you’re kind of a jerk. (I’d like to use a few more expletives, but I will refrain.)

Let me jump ahead. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus has been shown to speak in parables to the crowds. I know I have difficulty with many of the parables in the Bible, but I understand their importance. They are meant to gently guide us to understanding the true meaning. If I can think of a tiny mustard seed growing into one of the largest plants, I may glean meaning and a greater understanding at a pace that I can handle. Jesus knew this of the crowd.

The Lord spoke to them as children, as His children, in a way that they may understand.

But the disciples are another story. They were told directly, with no parables to be found. He spoke to them privately and in earnest. He knows His disciples can handle more. They can handle the truth in a more direct fashion. It may be more difficult to swallow, and wants for the imagery of the sprouting seed metaphors, but Jesus knew His disciples.

He gives it to ‘em straight up.

David needs the truth straight up. What David had done to Uriah and his wife was sinful. I picture Jesus (before His time, yes, but go with it) with His left arm tucked up under His right and His right hand over His eyes, shaking His head like, Um David, not cool.

I hope Jesus would have given it to David straight up. He sinned. I hope Jesus would have told David to repent for His sins and ask for forgiveness. Straight up.

It makes me wonder who I am in the eyes of the Lord. Am I of the crowd, needing parables and stories to guide me towards understanding? Am I of the disciples, being spoken to in private and directly, even if it is more difficult to accept? Am I David, a once beloved warrior but sinner all the same?

Probably all of the above. And then some. But our Lord is merciful to all of us sinners. I do evil, I sin, I am guilty. But He forgives and He saves. Even when I am a jerk, too.

Are you not facing the reality of a sin in your life you just need to be straight up with God about? Confession is here for you! Avail yourself of His cleansing graces.

photo credit

Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife, mom, and dentist currently living in the Bay Area, California. You can find out more about her here.

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