June 10, 2012
First Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15
Our Old Testament readings for today and the next two months will be bits and pieces of the fascinating story of the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. I would suggest you do not settle for what amounts to an outline of the best story in the bible (except, of course, that of the crucifixion and resurrection). Read it yourself in First and Second Samuel and two chapters of First Kings.
If however, we grant that our bishops had to choose between a curtailed story or none at all, we can also grant that today’s reading was a good choice. To get the import of the story, we have to know that initially God didn’t want his chosen people to have a king.
Second Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1
The opening sentence in this passage refers to Psalm 116, on keeping the faith in the midst of troubles and pain. Although I do not admire everything about the older Catholic Church that was flourishing when I was a young man, I do admire the way they taught people how to receive pain. “Offer it up,” my mother-in-law would say, meaning give the pain to God, recognize that pain unites one with the God who suffered on the cross. This is true, says Paul, even of the chronic pains of aging, which serve to renew our inner natures and set us on the road toward a heavenly home.
Arthur H. Cash is a historian and distinguished professor emeritus, State University of New York at New Paltz.