Sunday February 24, 2022, The Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)
The tie in between today’s readings: Doing the Unintuitive
Did you ever see the horror movie where a bunch of teenagers are trapped in a “House of Death” and one of the girls is missing? Of course, the smart one in the group says, “Let’s split up” and they all agree, such is the power of peer group pressure. So, they proceed on their suicide searches and are picked off one by one in gruesome fashion. Shaking your head at the inane plot you switch programs because you just can’t believe how stupid those deservedly dead teenagers could be. Who does that in real life?
The future king David looks down from a secure position. A three-thousand-man search and destroy party, organized by King Saul in his honor, camps at the bottom of the hill. David turns to a couple of guys standing with him and says, “Do you want to go down with me and infiltrate the camp?” Proving that blood is thicker than water, his nephew Abishai agrees. WHOA! Haven’t we seen this movie before? It doesn’t make sense. Why would David let alone anyone else want to undertake a mission like this? As it turns out, it’s a third test from God in a series which started in 1 Samuel 24. Unbeknownst to the pair God puts the camp to sleep and they sneak into Saul’s tent. Saul is also snoring away with his spear a short distance away. David respects Saul as God’s anointed and refuses to harm him despite the urging of Abishai. They grab the spear and a nearby water jug and high tail it back to base. When Saul learns that David could have killed him, he blesses David and breaks off the hunt (1 Samuel 26:1-23). David is learning the counter intuitiveness that reliance on God requires. He needs to reject human wisdom, passions, and motives and wait on God for his happy ending. A few thousand years later…
Jesus is giving His own version of rules to live by (Luke 6:27-38). Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Give to those who ask and don’t look for repayment. If somebody takes your coat, give him your shirt too. C’mon, who does that? If anybody else had said this, I would put them in the category with “Death House teens”…but it’s Jesus and He’s setting the bar high. He says, “Look, I am calling you to a greater standard because you have a higher status. You are children of the Highest God and like Father like Son(s). I am kind to the ungrateful, forgiving to the trespassers, and gracious to the wicked. You all are My Exhibit “A” to that. I know what I’m asking sounds crazy scary. That’s because in this fallen world of limited resources the safest relationships are contractual. People will take advantage of you and being burnt hurts. But this is not between you and them it’s between Me and you. I want you to do unto them as I have done unto you. I have unlimited resources, My love is infinite, and I will always have your back. Do you trust me?”
Do I trust Him? Yes…but I really don’t want to. I’m not comfortable with His cosmic karma. It’s a little too much ‘Alice in Wonderland’ for me. The physics are upside down: rich is poor, give and you’ll get, die and you’ll live. I want Sunday pillow Christianity with a funny pastor feeding me baby food homilies. Yet, I can see that the thrill that leads to praise and deeper communion with Him lies on the knife edges of life. King David is an example of that. He couldn’t have penned works like Psalm 103 without his God adventures. I need to transform my thinking from the natural to the spiritual. It’s the only way to bear the image of the heavenly in this world (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). I’ve learned two things today. First, to live the fulfilled Christian life I will have to get out of my comfort zone. Second, if I’m ever in a haunted house…I’m staying with the group.