Friday, January 29, 2010

FDR Memorial
Washington, DC

In the continuing saga of King David's life, the story in today's first reading recalls the humanity of David. Great leader, great builder, David proves that greatness can be challenged and defeated. Neither more powerful nor more numerous armies dealt him personal defeat. It was nothing less than simply looking at what was a temptation for the man. Emotional needs are terribly powerful. They can devious routes that distract an individual. They can create a new person, a new personality. David brings to mind Adam and Eve. He became the sinner whose transgressions led him to the taking not only of a woman's virtue but of the life of a loyal supporter, the woman's husband.

Is it not the same problem that we confront in our contemporary world. How public have the extramarital affairs of leaders become of late. Mistresses, fathering children out of wedlock, betraying spouses. As well, many of us are aware of extramarital trysts that have damaged so many families.

Turn to today's Responsorial Psalm (51). It is the prayer of a community for all who have betrayed others, harmed others, destroyed names and families. It is the petition of the community for forgiveness, confessing its corporate sinfulness. Is it not an expression of regret and at the same time the expression of an awareness that human nature is not easily lived. It is a reminder that humanity walks with clay feet for sure. However, there is a God of forgiveness if we trust in his mercy and compassion.

It is in our quiet time with the Lord, our moments of reading and reflecting words and stories inspired by the Holy Spirit that we can encounter pictures of our weakened humanity as well as the awareness that we have a God who walks the walk with us if we but invite him to be with us.