David and Bathsheba

david-and-bathsheba-chagallThe first reading for today’s Mass was the famous account of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11. It is paired with the Mark 4:26-34 which includes the account of the sowing of seeds, the parable of the mustard seed, and musing on the Kingdom of God.

King David is, it seems to me, an example of an individual (although the same analogy could apply to a small community of faith, a parish, a religious order, etc.) who is ever in need of a Divine Horticulturist. At different times in his life he has been “good soil,” “rocky ground,” “soil with brambles,” and all manner of well- and ill-prepared soil. The Word came to David, as it does us, and the fruitfulness of the seed was only as good as the ground which received it.  Even when the mustard seed is planted, it only has the potential to be shade covering for all the birds of the sky. Between seedling and “the largest of plants” lies weather, soil conditions, weeding, fertilizing, pruning, and all kinds of care and tending.

On our worst days we ignore, avoid, and all together pass on the work of the Divine Horticulturist. On our best days, we seek Him out and, in humility, and undergo the necessary pruning, watering, and all manner of converting care. And it is on those days, we perhaps best understand our Psalm:

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.
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Today’s account was one of David’s worst days. But with the help of Nathan he encountered the Mercy of God.  That was a good day.

May your day be as good.  May you hear the sounds of joy and gladness. It is only a pruning away

So…what are your plans?

beatitudes1This weekend the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Feb 2nd) falls on a Sunday – and so we celebrate that event in the life of Christ.  When the Feast falls on Sunday, it replaces the Ordinary Time celebration and the associated Gospel, which happens to be “The Sermon on the Mount.”  The Sermon contains the listing of the Beatitudes and is one of the great discourses in the Gospel according to Matthew.  I thought I would at least provide some food for thought here in the column. Continue reading