Scripture Readings for January 27, 2022
When I read Samuel for today I couldn’t help but think that David is the stand-in for all of us. David is amazed at the favor God has shown to him and his family. David doesn’t think there’s a good reason for God to have chosen him.
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, that you have brought me to this point?”
In fact, God has just told David his idea of building a fancy temple for God is missing the point of God’s being with him all this time. God has chosen David and will stand by him and his family forever. That’s it. Today we might say God’s going to be David’s friend. God will have David’s back, no matter what. Young people might say, BFF’s (best friends forever).
Why is God doing this? God wants this relationship and Samuel suggests it’s because God wants everyone in on the deal.
“Your name will be forever great, when men say, ‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’”
This is even clearer in the New Jerusalem Bible translation:
“may the promise which you have made … stand firm forever as you have said, so that your name will be exalted forever and people will say, ‘Israel’s God is Yahweh Sabaoth.’”
It suggests that God wants everyone to know about the gifts or blessings God is making available for us all. The problem, of course, is that life doesn’t always encourage us to see ourselves as beneficiaries of God’s largesse. We don’t feel worthy. Life can be challenging and often discouraging and harsh. There’s no simple answer to why bad things happen.
Mark’s Gospel for today hints at one way to approach the question of understanding the gifts we believe God offers to everyone. Jesus is saying in Mark that “the light” is not meant to be kept under a bushel basket but rather everything that is “hidden” is meant to be out in the open. Another words, pay attention or “listen” to what is being said, in the words and very life of Jesus and just as importantly in our lives everyday.
Then Jesus says something that can seem odd:
“The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
In terms of being chosen like David, God intends good things for everyone. We’re all just as worthy, unlikely as it may seem to us, as David was. Mark’s Gospel says to the extent you accept that and dive in, you’ll gain more of what is offered. If however, you don’t accept that approach then what little you already have is likely to go away. However we do have to understand what’s important. David thought building a strong cedar wood temple for God was what was needed. God said no, we’re not talking material things here, we’re talking a relationship in which God offers life and blessings to human beings and they respond in gratitude and act accordingly. That offer is available for ever and to everyone we just have to listen well enough to hear it, to be aware of it.
We know about this from ordinary experience if we think about it. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by circumstances, too many things aren’t going right and I just want to curl up and avoid all human contact. If I keep this up things only get worse. Then there are moments when I feel good about what is going on, the day is beautiful and I’m ready to take on anything. To me, that’s where we have to look for the presence of God and divine gifts, in our individual lives, our feelings and the choices we make. I think today’s readings say that we are all chosen and promised a future in which God gifts us with what we need to flourish. We need to live based on that generosity and in so doing reveal the light that is still hidden.