2 Samuel

Chapter 5
Pope Francis     24.11.13    Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,  King of the Universe      Colossians 1:12-20         2 Samuel 5:1-3          Luke 23:42-43 

Today’s solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the crowning of the liturgical year, also marks the conclusion of the Year of Faith opened by Pope Benedict XVI, to whom our thoughts

now turn with affection and gratitude for this gift which he has given us. By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long.

 I offer a cordial and fraternal greeting to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches present. The exchange of peace which I will share with them is above all a sign of the appreciation of the Bishop of Rome for these communities which have confessed the name of Christ with exemplary faithfulness, often at a high price.

With this gesture, through them, I would like to reach all those Christians living in the Holy Land, in Syria and in the entire East, and obtain for them the gift of peace and concord.

The Scripture readings proclaimed to us have as their common theme the centrality of Christ. Christ is at the centre, Christ is the centre. Christ is the centre of creation, Christ is the centre of his people and Christ is the centre of history.

1. The apostle Paul, in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Colossians, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in him, through him and for him all things were created. He is the centre of all things, he is the beginning: Jesus Christ, the Lord. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20). He is the Lord of creation, he is the Lord of reconciliation.

This image enables to see that Jesus is the centre of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. And so our thoughts will be Christian thoughts, thoughts of Christ. Our works will be Christian works, works of Christ; and our words will be Christian words, words of Christ. But when this centre is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves.

2. Besides being the centre of creation and the centre of reconciliation, Christ is the centre of the people of God. Today, he is here in our midst. He is here right now in his word, and he will be here on the altar, alive and present amid us, his people. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them.

Christ, the descendant of King David, is really the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one, one people, united with him and sharing a single journey, a single destiny. Only in him, in him as the centre, do we receive our identity as a people.

3. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of humanity and also the centre of the history of every individual. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.

Whereas all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clings to the crucified Jesus and begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Jesus promises him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43), in his kingdom. Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard. Today we can all think of our own history, our own journey. Each of us has his or her own history: we think of our mistakes, our sins, our good times and our bleak times. We would do well, each one of us, on this day, to think about our own personal history, to look at Jesus and to keep telling him, sincerely and quietly: “Remember me, Lord, now that you are in your kingdom! Jesus, remember me, because I want to be good, but I just don’t have the strength: I am a sinner, I am a sinner. But remember me, Jesus! You can remember me because you are at the centre, you are truly in your kingdom!” How beautiful this is! Let us all do this today, each one of us in his or her own heart, again and again. “Remember me, Lord, you who are at the centre, you who are in your kingdom”.

Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more, he is so generous, he always gives more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his kingdom!

Let us ask the Lord to remember us, in the certainty that by his mercy we will be able to share his glory in paradise. Let us go forward together on this road!


Chapter 6
12b-15, 17-19

Pope Francis       28.01.20     Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas          2 Samuel 6: 12b-15, 17-19
Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas - Tuesday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time - Lectionary Cycle II

Pope Francis talks about Celebration, Joy and Evangelization 28.01.20

The first Reading today, taken from the second book of Samuel, speaks of David and all the people of Israel celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem following its capture.

The Ark had been captured and its return is a great joy for the people. The people felt that God was close to them and celebrated. And King David was with them, he put himself at the head of the procession, and made a sacrifice of an ox and a fat ram. He joined the people shouting, singing and dancing "with all his might". 

It was a celebration: the joy of God's people was because God was with them. And David? Danced. He dances before the people, expresses his joy without embarrassed; it is the spiritual joy of meeting the Lord: God has returned to the people, and this gives them so much joy. David does not think that he is the king and that the king must be detached from the people, his majesty, with the distance ... David loves the Lord, he is happy for this event to bring back the ark of the Lord. He expresses this happiness, this joy, dancing and even singing like all the people.

It happens to us, we feel this joy when we are with the Lord and, perhaps in the parish or in our villages, we celebrate. There was another episode in the history of Israel, when the book of the law was found at the time of Nehemiah and even then the people wept with joy, continuing home to celebrate. 

The text of the prophet Samuel goes on to describe David's return to his home where he finds one of his wives, Michal, Saul's daughter. She welcomes him with contempt. Seeing the king dance she was ashamed of him and scolded him by saying: "But were you dancing shamelessly like a common person, like one of the people?"
It is the contempt for genuine religiosity, of the spontaneity of joy of being with the Lord. And David explains to her: "But look, this was a source of joy. Joy in the Lord, because we brought the Ark home!" But she despises him. And the Bible says that this lady – her name was Michal – had no children for this. The Lord punished her. When joy is lacking in a Christian, that Christian is not fruitful; when joy is lacking in our hearts, there is no fruitfulness.

Celebration is not only expressed spiritually, but becomes sharing. David, that day, after the blessing, had distributed "a loaf of bread for each person, a portion of roasted meat and a cake of raisins", so that everyone could celebrate in their own home. The Word of God is not ashamed of celebration. It is true, sometimes the danger of joy is to go further and believe that this is everything. No: this is the festive air. St. Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" speaks of this aspect and exhorts joy. "The Church will not go forward, the Gospel will not go forward with boring, embittered evangelizers. It will only go forward with joyful evangelizers, full of life. The joy in receiving the Word of God, the joy of being Christians, the joy of moving forward, the ability to celebrate without shame and not be like this lady, Michal, formal Christians, Christian prisoners of formalities."
 Chapter 18
9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30
Chapter 19

Pope Francis   04.02.20   Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)          2 Samuel 18: 9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30 to 19: 3    
Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time  - Lectionary Cycle II

Pope Francis Santa Marta Mass 04.02.20

“My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you!” This was the anguished cry of David, weeping at news of the death of his son. The Second Book of Samuel tells of the end of the long battle Absalom had waged against his own father, King David, in order to replace him on the throne. David suffered from that war that his son had unleashed against him by convincing the people to fight by his side, so much so that David had had to flee Jerusalem, barefoot, his head uncovered, insulted by some, while others threw stones at him, because all the people were with this son who had deceived the people, had seduced the heart of the people with promises.

Today's reading shows David waiting for news from the front, and tells of the arrival, finally, of a messenger, who tells him that Absalom had died in the battle. David was shaken at this news, and trembling and weeping, cried out, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you!” Those who were with him were amazed by this reaction.

‘But why are you weeping? This person was against you, he had disowned you, he had renounced your fatherhood, he had insulted you, he had persecuted you. But celebrate, rejoice that you have won!’ But David only said, “My son, my son, my son,” and wept. This weeping of David is an historic fact, but it is also a prophecy. It makes us see the heart of God, what God does when we turn away from Him, what the Lord does when we destroy ourselves with sin, when we are disoriented, lost. The Lord is a Father, and He never denies this paternity, but says ‘My son, my son’.

We encounter this weeping of God when we confess our sins. Confession, is not like going to the dry cleaners to take away a stain; rather, it is going to the Father who weeps for me, precisely because He is a Father.

David’s words — “If only I had died instead of you, Absalom my son” — are prophetic and in God it comes true. 

So great is the love of a father that God has for us that He died in our place. He became man and died for us. When we look at the crucifix, we think of this: ‘He died instead of you’. And we hear the voice of the Father who in the Son says to us, ‘My child, my child’. God does not deny His children, He does not reject His paternity.

God's love reaches the extreme. Who is on the cross, is God, the Son of the Father, sent to give life for us.

It would be good in the difficult moments in our lives — and we all have them — in moments of sin, in moments when we feel far from God, to hear this voice in our hearts: ‘My son, my daughters, what are you doing? Don’t kill yourself, please. I died for you”.

Jesus wept as He looked at Jerusalem. Jesus weeps for us, because we don’t let Him love us. In the moment of temptation, in the moment of sin, in the moment when we distance ourselves from God, let us try to hear this voice: ‘My son, my daughter, why?’”