(Vatican Radio) Do not use God nor use others to defend yourself in times of trouble
. That’s what Pope Francis warned in his homily Monday during mass at the Santa Marta
guesthouse here in the Vatican.
Listen to our report:
In his homily, Pope Francis continued his reflections on King David, who in today’s reading, flees because his son Absalom betrays him . Speaking of the story taken from the Second Book of Samuel, the Pope says David is sad because "even the people" supported his son against their king. And David feels “as if his child were dead."
So how does David react to this great betrayal? First of all, David, whom the Pope describes as "a man of government,” is realistic and knows that any war to quell the uprising would be very difficult, and many would die. So, instead of fighting his son’s forces in Jerusalem, David decides to ensure the safety of the people and the city.
As we know, the Pope says, David is a sinner but, in the moment of truth, his love for his God and for his people come first. It may happen, says the Pope, that in life’s difficult moments, a desperate person may try to defend him or herself by either using God or using people. But David’s reaction is different. He chooses to flee.
His second reaction, the Pope notes, is "repentance." He climbs the mountain barefoot and crying. David acknowledges that he is no saint: he has committed many sins. When such a thing happens to us, the Pope mused, we try to justify our actions; it is “an instinct we have.” But, David repents instead.
On their way, David and his servants meet another man who insults them and throws stones at them. One of the King’s friends threatens to kill the man but David stops him, saying “instead of choosing revenge…choose faith in God.”
David, the Pope says, shows here the third kind of reaction: trust in the Lord. This attitude can help us too because “all of us” pass through dark moments and trials.
David, he concludes, is a man who loves God, and loves his people – they are not negotiable. David recognizes his sins and repents; he is sure of his God and entrusts himself to Him. We venerate David “as a saint,” the Pope says, “We call on him to teach us these reactions in life’s bad moments.”