of Ordinary Time
Jan. 17, 2018
1 Sam 17: 32-33, 37, 40-51
In yesterday's 1st reading (1 Sam 16:1-13) we heard of the Lord's selection of David to replace Saul as king of Israel after Saul proved unfaithful to God and was rejected (Monday's reading, 1 Sam 15:16-23). Today we hear the familiar story of David's battle against Goliath.
God chose David for a very special purpose, to be the true shepherd of his people Israel. That role for the kings of Israel is highlighted by David's life as a shepherd boy, his being called, literally, from the pasture to be anointed king, and today by his recollection of how the Lord helped him defend the flock against predators and his use of a shepherd's gear in his battle.
Victorious David with Goliath's Head
David fulfilled his purpose by relying totally on God. From a human perspective, he had no chance of victory over the veteran giant warrior champion of the Philistines. That didn't matter with God on his side.
In our way thru life we encounter powerful enemies, most especially God's archenemy, the Devil. Given our moral frailty, we have no hope of victory--except that God is with us, and if we trust him and do our best to be faithful, then God will bring us to victory.
Within that framework of trust, David used the tools he had at hand, specifically his sling and the stones he'd chosen (using his experience about which ones would serve best). And having struck the giant down, he used another tool at hand, Goliath's own sword, to dispatch him.
God has given us tools--talents, spiritual guides, the Scriptures, the sacraments, etc.--to assist us in fulfilling our mission, our purpose in life. We use them under his leadership and guidance to do what we need to do.
Goliath, on the other hand, relied upon himself--his brute strength, his warrior's skills, his weapons--and upon lies and falsehoods (his false gods). That didn't work out so well for him.
We know from experience that relying on ourselves to be virtuous and to be successful in following Christ doesn't work too well. Any form of falsehood (self-deception or deceiving others), any form of idolatry (trusting in anything that is not God) undoes us. So, again, we need to do as David did and put our trust in the Lord, find our strength in him.