Reflection for Thursday, January 27, 2022: 3rd Week of Ordinary Time.

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Carney, Jay
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|"You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever, and you, LORD, have become their God."|Recall our last encounter with David in Monday's lectionary: David was anointed king at Hebron, took Jerusalem, and stood at the peak of worldly success. He went on to bring the ark of YHWH into Jerusalem, engaging in one of the Bible's most famous dances. And along the way he even managed to beat back the Philistines! As the writer of 2 Samuel noted at the end of Monday's first reading, "David grew steadily more powerful, for the Lord of hosts was with him" (2 Sam 5:10). So at this crucial juncture, what does David do?|His response in today's reading is telling. He does not go back to war (although that is coming). He does not commission builders to construct the Temple (although his son will). He does not issue press releases trumpeting his own achievements, as kings and politicians are wont to do. Rather, he prays out loud to God. He exhorts God to remember his special covenant with Israel. He recognizes that the people of Israel are not David's people, but God's people. Kings and prophets matter, but it is not a king or a prophet who will determine the fate of the people. Rather, Israel's identity rises and falls with God's power, God's grace, and God's covenantal relationship.|This is an important lesson for all of us. It can be all too easy to place our faith in a particular leader or ideology. It is also so easy to lose our faith because of the public sins of religious leaders, or the hypocrisies of kings and politicians who invoke the name of Jesus while contravening the heart of the gospel message. As we will see in the days to come, David himself soon falls from grace, blinded by his own power and sense of royal entitlement. Yet David reminds us today that our ultimate identity is grounded not in a political or religious leader, but in God's love and relationship for and with us. David's most important legacy lay not with his questionable morality, his military victories, or his political success, but rather with his desire to sustain an authentic relationship with God, whether in the midst of triumph or failure. May we do likewise.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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