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Santa Marta Jan 19, 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: Humans Are Slaves to Appearances But God Knows the Truth

At Casa Santa Marta, Says There Is No Saint Without a Past and No Sinner Without a Future

Human beings are often the slaves of appearances, but God knows the truth, looking “into the heart.”

Pope Francis offered this reflection during his morning homily today in Casa Santa Marta, Vatican Radio reported.

The Pope drew his homily from the reading from 1 Samuel, which recounts God instructing the prophet to choose David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons.

The Pope pointed out that God did not choose according to human standards, since David was only a youth.

But the Lord made it clear to the prophet Samuel that he looks beyond appearances: “The Lord looks into the heart.”

“We are often the slaves of appearances and allow ourselves to pursue appearances: ‘But God knows the truth.’ And that is so in this story,” the Holy Father said. “Jesse’s seven sons are presented and the Lord does not choose any of them, he lets them pass by. Samuel is in a bit of difficulty and says to Jesse: ‘The Lord has not chosen any of them, are these all the sons you have? And Jesse replied that there was still the youngest, who is tending the sheep’. To the eyes of man this boy did not count.”

Nevertheless, David was God’s chosen one and the “Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David” and from that day on “the whole of David’s life was the life of a man anointed by the Lord, chosen by the Lord,” the Pope said.

Life’s journey

But did this mean that God immediately made David a saint, the Pope asked.

No, he answered. “King David is saint King David, this is true, but he became a saint after living a long life” a life during which he sinned:

“A saint and a sinner. A man who managed to unite the Kingdom; he was able to lead the people of Israel. But he fell into temptation … he committed sins: he was also a murderer. To cover up his lust, the sin of adultery… he commissioned a murder. He did! Did saint King David commit murder? When God sent the prophet Nathan to point this reality out to him, because he was not aware of the barbarity he had ordered, he acknowledged his sin and asked for forgiveness.”

The Holy Father noted how David’s life continued with suffering over the betrayal of his son, but how he “never used God for his own purpose.” When he was insulted, the Pope pointed out, David would say to himself: “It’s what I deserve.”

And then, Francis noted, “he was magnanimous”: he could have killed Saul “but he did not do so.” Saint King David, a great sinner, but a repentant one.

“The life of this man moves me,” the Pope said.

“We have all been chosen by the Lord to be baptized, to be part of His people, to be saints; we have been consecrated by the Lord on the path towards sainthood. Reading about this life, the life of a child – no… not a child, he was a boy – from boyhood to old age, during which he did many good things and others that were not so good. It makes me think that during the Christian journey, the journey the Lord has invited us to undertake, there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 312

Reading 1

1 SM 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:

“How long will you grieve for Saul,

whom I have rejected as king of Israel?

Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.

I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,

for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

But Samuel replied:

“How can I go?

Saul will hear of it and kill me.”

To this the LORD answered:

“Take a heifer along and say,

‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’

Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;

you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.

When he entered Bethlehem,

the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,

“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”

He replied:

“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.

So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”

He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves

and invited them to the sacrifice.

As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,

“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”

But the LORD said to Samuel:

“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,

because I have rejected him.

Not as man sees does God see,

because he sees the appearance

but the LORD looks into the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,

who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”

Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,

“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”

In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,

but Samuel said to Jesse,

“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”

Then Samuel asked Jesse,

“Are these all the sons you have?”

Jesse replied,

“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said to Jesse,

“Send for him;

we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”

Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.

He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold

and making a splendid appearance.

The LORD said,

“There–anoint him, for this is he!”

Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,

anointed him in the midst of his brothers;

and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 89:20, 21-22, 27-28

R. (21a) I have found David, my servant.

Once you spoke in a vision,

and to your faithful ones you said:

“On a champion I have placed a crown;

over the people I have set a youth.”

R. I have found David, my servant.

“I have found David, my servant;

with my holy oil I have anointed him,

That my hand may be always with him,

and that my arm may make him strong.”

R. I have found David, my servant.

“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,

my God, the Rock, my savior.’

And I will make him the first-born,

highest of the kings of the earth.”

R. I have found David, my servant.

Alleluia

SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

enlighten the eyes of our hearts,

that we may know what is the hope

that belongs to our call.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

MK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,

his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.

At this the Pharisees said to him,

“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

He said to them,

“Have you never read what David did

when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?

How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest

and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,

and shared it with his companions?”

Then he said to them,

“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

About Kathleen Naab

United States

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