“Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man.’” (2 Samuel 12:5-7)
You can imagine a scene of David consoling Bathsheba over the death of her husband not knowing that David was directly responsible for his death. As the prophet Jeremiah says: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” but in the next verse, he writes: “I the Lord search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). We may succeed in deceiving people for a while but we can never deceive God.
God was so displeased with what David did that He sent Nathan to him. Consider how David flared up with anger when Nathan narrated the story of a rich man who left his herds of animals but decided to entertain his guest with the only lamb that his poor neighbour had. David exclaimed: “The man who has done this deserves to die and he shall restore what he took fourfold because he had no pity.” It is easy to notice the faults of others but not so easy for us to examine our own conscience.
Jesus asks: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4). David was about to execute the wicked-heartless rich man in Nathan’s story until Nathan told him clearly: “David, you are the man.”
Each time you become enraged at the offences of others or partake in jungle justice, ask yourself: “Am I also guilty? If I was in this person’s shoes, would I have acted differently? What does this experience teach me?” This was the very point Jesus made to the crowd who brought a woman caught in adultery, “let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” In other words, before your judge, examine your conscience.
David assumed that people will think it was a mere coincidence that Uriah died in battle and he just happened to marry his wife out of pity. In David, we learn that it is better to do what is right than to be content with what people will think. Secondly, we must avoid double standards in our judgement of moral acts. If it is not okay for Mr. A. to get away with murder, it is not okay for anyone at all to get away with murder.
In today’s Gospel passage, the disciples of Jesus are surprised that Jesus could afford to sleep in a boat while they were so shaken with fear for their lives. They still didn’t know who Jesus was. They assumed he was just a mere mortal like one of them. Like these disciples, we may be following Jesus but we don’t know Jesus.
We may be attending Church services but so long as we continue living in sin, our actions betray our knowledge of Jesus. St. Paul would say: “Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, make me realize the gravity of my sinfulness and deepen my trust in you. Amen.
Bible Study: 2 Sam. 12:1-7,10-17, Ps. 51:12-17, Mark 4:35-41).