David, who in the midst of betrayal and persecution is not shaken in his faith in God, is an example to follow in moments of difficulty.
Pope Francis focused on the figure of the king of Israel during his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta today.
The Holy Father reflected on the first reading from the 2nd book of Samuel which recalled David fleeing from his son Absalom who betrayed him. Confronted by this betrayal, three attitudes arise in David.
“David, a man who governs, takes the reality as it is and knows that this war will be very hard and that many would be killed. Thus, he makes the choice to not let his people die,” he said.
“This is the first attitude. He does not use God nor his people to defend himself, and this means the love of a king for his God and his people. He is a sinful king – we know the story – but a king who also has this great love: he was so attached to his God and so attached to his people and uses neither God nor his people to defend himself.
“In awful times in life it may happen that in desperation man looks to defend himself in any way he can and even use God and use the people. Not him, his first attitude is this: to not use God and the people.”
The second attitude, the Pope continued, is a “penitential attitude.” While traveling up the mountain, with his face covered and barefoot, David cried knowing that he was not innocent and chooses penance over defending himself.
“This ascent to the mountain makes us think of that other ascent by Jesus. He was also in pain, barefoot, with the cross ascending the mountain. This is a penitential attitude. David accepts being in mourning and weeps.
“When something like this happens in our life, we look – it is an instinct that we have – to justify ourselves,” the Pope continued. “David does not justify himself. He is a realist, he looks to save the ark of God, his people, and does penance on that path. He is great: a great sinner and a great saint. How do these two things go together? Only God knows!”
David’s third and final attitude is a complete trust in God. The Pope said that this is evidenced when David is cursed at and ridiculed by an enemy. Instead of choosing to have the man killed, David chooses to leave him be and to trust in God. “He knows that everything that happens, the Lord permits it,” the Pope said.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis told the faithful that David’s behavior in front of this tribulation can also help us, since we all pass through tribulation and difficulties.
“It is beautiful to listen to this and to see these three attitudes: a man that loves God, that loves his people and does not negotiate; a man that knows he is a sinner and does penance; a man who is sure of his God and trusts in Him,” the Pope said. “David is a saint and we venerate him as a saint. Let us ask him to teach us these attitudes in the difficult moments of life.”