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)


  • A LOT OF NAMES

  • SERIOUSLY, A LOT

  • So get comfortable with it for the next few days

  • Fr. Mike is not just sorry for you, he’s sorry for himself that we have to read all the names 😉

  • The names all mean something

  • Every name signifies not just ONE INDIVIDUAL

  • Every name signifies THEIR ENTIRE FAMILY

  • This is REMARKABLE that we are getting a bit of the family tree

  • Not just ANY family tree

  • But the DESCENDANTS OF JUDAH specifically

  • Ch 2:9 The sons of Hezron are Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai and then we continue down the family line etc.

  • If you recognize this, this the EXACT ORDER that we get in Matthew’s Gospel when we read the Genealogy of Jesus

  • We read the Genealogy of Jesus at Christmas Mass

  • This is the story leading not just from Abraham all the way to David, but BEYOND THAT

  • From David to Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the ONE WHO WAS PROMISED

  • When we read all of these names, at times it can be WHO?? WHAT???

  • But these names MEAN A TON

  • Today we have a happy coincidence

  • There is a connection between 2 Samuel 2 and 1 Chronicles 2

  • Here is David, the King of Judah, who is going to battle against the other tribes of Israel

  • Three of the people he goes to battle with are the sons of his sister, Zeruiah

  • Abishai, Joab, and Asahel

  • Asahel was very swift of foot, faster than a deer (faster than Bambi? Guess we will never know 😉)

  • Asahel is chasing after Abner

  • Remember, Abner is a massively accomplished military man under King Saul

  • Abner looks back and tells Asahel to stop chasing him because if they have to fight, Abner will kill him and then Joab will hold it against him

  • Basically, let’s not have the officers of these armies go after each other and have REVENGE being added to the list of violence

  • But eventually, Abner kills Asahel in self defense

  • So the two remaining brothers chase down Abner seeking revenge

  • And the CYCLE OF VIOLENCE continues

  • AND YET…

  • There was a wise moment where Abner called out to Asahel to stop chasing and looking for a fight, telling him it won’t end well for him

  • Abner did not want violence to beget violence

  • But doesn’t violence always seem to beget more violence? 🤔

  • This violence is going to continue

  • We recognize in this story what is going to unfold in this family is something that is devastating and it’s what violence does IN ALL OF OUR LIVES

  • Violence RARELY ENDS ON ITS OWN

  • Violence HAS TO BE ENDED

  • How is it ended?

  • It could be any number of ways

  • But the MAIN WAY is that Jesus takes violence UPON HIMSELF rather than afflicting violence

  • Jesus, the RIGHTEOUS, suffers for the sake of the UNRIGHTEOUS

  • Jesus puts an end, in so many ways, to that CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

  • Jesus also gives us an opportunity to be a part of the CYCLE OF MERCY

  • The cycle of allowing oneself to suffer for the other

  • That is why our call to forgive is SO CLEAR in Jesus’ proclamation and teachings

  • AND YET…

  • Forgiveness is one of the HARDEST teachings of Christianity

  • EVERYBODY needs to forgive SOMEBODY

  • We recognize not only the importance of the genealogy, which represents the PROMISES OF GOD

  • We also recognize how DEADLY violence is, because it rarely ends on its own

  • VIOLENCE HAS TO BE ENDED

  • In my heart today I say, “Ok Lord, where are the places of anger? Where are the places where I desire revenge or to be vindicated myself because of what someone else did or what someone else said? How do I imitate Jesus in this moment?”

  • In this moment, I LET THEM GO

  • In this moment, I SET THEM FREE

  • In this moment, I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE THEM PAY ME BACK

  • In this moment, I AM NOT GOING TO HOLD THIS AGAINST THEM

  • In this moment, I AM GOING TO END THIS ANGER

  • In this moment, I AM GOING TO END THIS VIOLENCE

  • This is a very hard thing to do

  • So that’s why we PRAY FOR EACH OTHER

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE


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.”