Day 121: Cycle of Violence

2 Samuel 2:1-32 The people of Israel were divided politically and militarily after Saul’s death. David was anointed King of Judah in the south, and although he was not chosen by God, Saul’s commander, Abner, declared Saul’s last surviving son, Ish-bosheth, to be King of Israel. (Here, Israel refers to all of the tribes but Judah. Later, when the Twelve Tribes divided into two kingdoms, the Southern Kingdom was composed of Judah and Benjamin.) When peaceful dialogue and limited skirmishes failed to bring peace, Judah and Israel made war with each other, with Judah emerging triumphant as Abner and his men retreated.

Psalm 24 This psalm gives a list of directives for proper participation in liturgical celebrations. Although there are only three mentioned here rather than the eleven listed in Psalm 15, they convey the same idea: Obedience to the Commandments and moral law. Implicit is a call for an examination of conscience as an immediate preparation for fitting worship.

Church tradition applies verse 7-10 to the descent of Christ into the abode of the dead after his death, where he preached the Good News of Salvation and opened the doors of Heaven to all the just who had died before him. The Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church sings this psalm at the Easter Vigil, and the Latin Rite of the Church prays this psalm at the procession on Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, June 20, 2001) 

The king of glory: This is a prophetic term for Christ, which was fulfilled with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem amid acclamations calling him a “Son of David'' and “Savior” (cf. Mt 21:9). Although Christ rejected his followers’ efforts to make him their king, he claimed a kingship that was not of this world. This was expressed in a dramatic way at his Crucifixion and Death. (CCC 269, 559, 2628)

Lift up your heads, O gates!: The last four verses of this psalm depict a triumphal entry of the Lord into his Temple. This joyous occasion calls to mind the enthusiastic ceremonies that accompanied the Ark of the Covenant as it was brought into the Temple for the first time: it signifies God’s special presence and care for his Chosen People.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory today. We thank you so much for the unfolding of time. We thank you for the unfolding of the story of Salvation and the story of how, Lord God, you are willing to take time. You are willing to be patient, not only with us in our weakness and our littleness and our falseness, you are also willing to be patient with the passage of time, with other people’s decisions, and the fact that we have to grow and it takes time to grow. And so we thank you. We thank you for being patient with us. We thank you for giving us time. We thank you for allowing this time to be used. So we ask you, actually, help us to use this time to grow. Help us to use this time not as wasted time, not as stalling out time, but as time where we can always find you and you will ALWAYS ALWAYS find us where we are in this moment. We give you praise and we thank you. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”