Reflection for Thursday, February 5, 2004: 4th week in Ordinary Time.
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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
The scriptures today are interesting. In 1 Kings, David instructs his son Solomon to follow God's ways. In 1 Chronicles, the writer shouts, "Lord, you are exalted over all." And in Mark, Christ sends out the disciples to preach repentance. When Jesus sends them out, he doesn't say, pack for the journey. Just the opposite. He instructs them to take sandals and a walking stick. The disciples have to trust Jesus.|Usually it's the Gospel that speaks to me, but today it's the Old Testament. David is an amazing person. A man with a heart for God. As a young father, he lost one child because of his own sin. Later, another son, Absalom, rebels against David, tries to kill David and is then himself killed. The scene of David weeping at the news of his son's death is one of the more heart-wrenching in the Bible. Life has not been easy for David. He has plenty of reason for bitterness towards God. Now David is old. He lies on his death bed. His son Solomon, his successor, is listening. What advice does David give? What parting wisdom does he have for Solomon? Remain faithful to the Lord. Follow his ways. It isn't about leadership skills or investment advice or how to run a kingdom or anything like that. Be faithful.|As a father, I understand where David is coming from. David understands what is important. I feel incredibly blessed to have a wife who loves God and who works with me to pass our faith on to our children. I recognize what a gift faith is. Even if you don't look at the eternal life side, a relationship with Christ adds clarity, meaning, purpose, joy and fulfilment to the here and now. Christ simply makes life better. When I see faith in my children my heart soars. So imagine how I feel when I can't impart my faith to a child. My oldest son, Andrew, has, for quite some time now, made it quite clear that he does not believe in God and he views believers as gullible fools. For a long time I took the attitude that something was wrong with this kid and I was going to fix it. To say that we have knocked heads over the subject is an understatement. The more I presented my faith or shared about Jesus, the more my son rejected it. It was heart breaking and maddening at the same time.|I felt I had reached the end of my rope with this kid many times. Our struggle over this issue is part of the reason my son moved out at the age of 18. I felt like a failure as a father and as an ambassador for Christ. I was certain I was the only one in the world who had to go through this horrible situation. Ahh, but what about David? I shared my struggles with a small group at church. It was encouraging to know that I wasn't alone in my struggle. It also helped me to recognize that this struggle was between my son and God. I learned to back off some. Last Christmas a minor miracle occurred. I had reached a point where I didn't even invite Andrew to church anymore. One Sunday morning before Christmas, Andrew showed up. This was strange, but wasn't completely out of the ordinary because Andrew likes to eat and we always have food. When it came time for the family to go to church, Andrew piled into the van with us. And sat with us through church. What an encouraging and joyful moment.|Later, I had to laugh at myself. I always seem to approach life with the attitude that I have to fix it. I have my own plan, my own timetable and my own methods. And I'm sure they all give God a good laugh. My prayer today is for patience for parents of rebellious children. God has a plan for them.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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