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Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Tuesday, January 23, 2018



2Sm 7:4-17; Ps 89:4,5,27-30; Mk 4:1-20
“My covenant with him stands firm.”

Today’s whole psalm is a love poem about God’s faithfulness to David and his dynasty. The Son of David will receive all the benefits promised to his father. The LORD goes on and on, verse after verse, to sing of his chosen one and the covenant he has sworn to David his servant. Such delight in David can be explained only by love. This love is forever, and it stands firm. The LORD speaks through his prophet Nathan; the LORD tells of his grand design to build David a house. The king’s plan to build a temple for the LORD in Jerusalem is rejected, but King David is not rejected. The LORD promises him a throne that will last through all ages. Upon David’s throne the LORD will place his own Son, the only begotten One, his eternal Son incarnate of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. The Lord Jesus is the true descendent of King David because he cries out to the LORD, “You are my father, my God, the Rock that brings me victory!” The Father responds to such filial love with this promise, “I myself make him firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth.” Indeed, these words and this entire vision came through Nathan. We appropriate it through the power of the Holy Spirit who inspires the New Testament to fulfill the Old Testament, and the Old Testament to explain the New Testament. Indeed, as the Lord Jesus explains his parables to his followers, he promises that the Kingdom of God has been granted to them. We are already in the beginning of that Kingdom for we are here in the House of the Most High, and where the King is there is the Kingdom.

Earlier in the day the prophet Nathan had heard his king share a plan to build a Temple to the honor and glory of the LORD who had given him victory over his enemies and the unity of his people. The prophet’s initial response was positive. He told David that this would be only appropriate because the LORD loved him and would be pleased with whatever he wanted to do. Not so, as Nathan heard in his bed that night. The LORD made clear that David could not build the temple because his hands were stained with blood. David built a nation, but he was not worthy to build a temple. Since David was a man after the LORD’s own heart, he did not take this as a personal rejection. Rather, he trusted the word of God through Nathan. “And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name.” Certainly, King Solomon fulfilled this word of promise. However, the Lord Jesus, the faithful Son of David, eternally fulfills it. David’s immediate heir may have built a temple. He even ruled the people with great wisdom, but he ended up turning away from the LORD God of his father David. His many wives and concubines seduced his heart, and he lost his wisdom. Solomon was not the truly faithful son of David. The promise made to King David was fulfilled completely in Jesus the Christ.

Christ The Word of God proclaims the word in parables. This New Solomon is full of wisdom, and he is the faithful heir of King David. He addresses the very large crowd at length and in parables. Some heard and bore fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold. Others heard and listened but did not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven. Even someone like Solomon, who heard and listened and was filled with wisdom did not understand. David’s own son, Solomon, sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and the sun scorched him and he withered in foolishness for lack of roots. However, David’s heart was deep and the word of promise planted in this soil did bear fruit, a fruit that has lasted and will last until the end of the ages. The Lord Jesus Christ is the first fruits of the New Creation, the firstborn of the dead. This faithful servant of the LORD makes the promise last from age to age. The promise of sharing in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus and made again in him even though there are some who look and see but not perceive. In every age, until the end of the ages, the Sower sows the good seed, the very word of God. This word is like the seed sown because some of it bears fruit and some does not. Still, this is a mystery. It is a mystery that gives us hope. This hope remains even though some seed, in every age, does not bear fruit.

 

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