January 22, 2020
(Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children)
David spoke to Saul: “Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.” But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.” . . . David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. 1_Sm_17:32-33,37,40-51
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. Mk_3:1-6
Sometimes we can get so steeped in our presumptions. People in ancient times believed that the earth was flat; and they dared not travel very far, lest they fall off the edge. People as late as the 17th Century believed that the universe revolved around the earth. And they went as far as imprisoning the astronomer Galileo for proposing something different.
In the time when Jesse’s son, David, was still a young shepherd boy, the presumption was that God had abandoned the Israelites, and that nothing they could do would stop those giant Philistines from walking all over them. But David was not hoodwinked by their naivete and cowardice. And He trusted in the Lord who, he knew – never abandons His children.
So, despite their fearful warnings, David was confident, both in his own ability, and in the Lord’s support. And, by his example, the faith of the Israelites in God – was revived. It’s funny, because we’ve heard that story of young David and Goliath since we were little kids. But, we may have never thought of the incident as – the paradigm shifting, presumption shattering STAND that David took against – a society that was so lost, and faithless, and weak.
Today we hear Jesus also – take a Stand against the presumption of the Pharisees; the presumption that – following the Law superseded everything else, even the wellbeing of the people and of life itself.
And He made the reasoning for His Stand perfectly clear, when He asked, “What’s more important, saving a life or standing by your presumption?” The Pharisee’s silence, their rejection, and their obstinate refusal to accept, even what made perfect common sense, greatly disturbed Jesus. And His disturbance was not because of their stubborn objection, but because of their own loss of salvation, in choosing to reject God’s Truth.
Our lesson today, beloved, is the importance of being open. Sure our rational responsibility is to challenge and to understand the presumptions we face in life. Presumptions, like believing that all the media we hear or read – is honest and true. Presumptions, like believing that all priests are good and all politicians are bad. Presumptions, like believing that just because there’s a stop sign, the other driver will stop.
We need to understand the presumptions and to understand the Truth. And yet, we are also called to take our Stand, when what we hear does not support the common moral sense of God’s love, and of the extreme value He places on the life of every one of His children, from their very conception until we take that last mortal breath.
Jesus is God’s proof of that love! He feeds us with His Life, so that we may be one, in Love and in Union with Him and each other. And that’s NOT a presumption, it’s a Promise!
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