Homilette for Friday, June 5, 2009

Memorial of St. Boniface, bishop and martyr

(Tobit 11:5-17; Mark 12:35-37)

Once an advertising campaign promised to “bring a mountain to Chicagoland.” The pledge excited the city’s children who never saw a mountain other than in books. It turned out, however, that the mountain was only a new brand of coffee being introduced into the Chicago market.

In today’s gospel Jesus refutes a kind of advertising campaign about the long-awaited Messiah. The people believe that the Messiah is to be a descendant of David, the mighty king whose military exploits established Israel as a regional powerhouse. Jesus notes, however, that one of the psalms refers to the Messiah as “my lord.” Since David is considered the author of all the psalms, Jesus asks how David can call a descendant “my lord.” He means that the expectation of the Messiah as a descendant of David is inadequate if he is to be David’s “lord.” Somehow, Jesus implies, the Messiah’s accomplishments have to transcend David’s military feats.

Jesus’ accomplishments comprise an achievement that would put David in awe. He dies a horrific death in complete submission to God’s will. He rises from the dead as indication of God’s approval for his sacrifice. And he sends his Holy Spirit upon his disciples to guide them to moral and spiritual heights. Yes, David and certainly we as well must acknowledge Jesus as “lord.”