Monday, December 10, 2012

Jesse Tree Reflections: December 13 and 14

Sorry for not posting any of these on Friday--busy weekend!

My sister-in-law has made the second set of symbols for your Jesse tree available here.

Dec. 13
Optional Reading: I Samuel 16:1-23, II Samuel 5:1-5, 7:1-17 (The story of David)
Symbol: Lyre

“‘And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies.  Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.  When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.’” 2 Samuel 7 10-13

In today’s readings we first learn how God chose David to be King, rejecting Saul who had first rejected Him; we then read about the evil spirit that tormented Saul, which was banished when David entered Saul’s service and played for him on his lyre; finally, we see the mighty King David planning to build a fitting house for the Ark of the Covenant, only to be told by God that this was not for him to do--at which point the Messianic promise of the quotes above is made.

In King David we see one of the foremost figures of Christ in the Old Testament.  It is from David’s line that the promised Messiah will be born, in the fullness of time.  Like David, the Messiah will be King over all of God’s people.

Yet the Messiah will not be an earthly King.  As Jesus Himself tells us much later in Holy Scripture, His Kingdom is not of this world.  It is the Kingdom that will endure forever, as promised by God to David of old.

Dec. 14
Optional Reading: I Kings 18: 17-39 (Elijah and the priests of Baal)
Symbol: Stone Altar

“Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” I Kings 18: 38-39

In this famous story of Elijah and the priests of Baal, Elijah issues an ultimatum to the people: he will put Baal to the test, and if Baal is truly a god, then they should all follow him--but if the Lord is God, they should reject the false god Baal forever and follow the Lord.  Though the priests of Baal try for hours to make their god hear them, he does not; he is not real.  But a single prayer of Elijah’s is enough to cause the Lord to consume by fire the offering Elijah has placed upon the stone altar--and not merely the offering, but the altar itself.  The people respond with joy.

Again and again the people of Israel have turned from God to false gods or idols.  Again and again we, too, conduct ourselves as if God does not really exist or is not really important in our lives.  Yet we should avoid such sins, and say with St. Thomas the Apostle, “My Lord and my God!” when we are shown the wounds of Christ, the price He paid for the hardheartedness and sins of all mankind.


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