Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Samuel 13:1-16; Mark 2:23-28)

Of all Renaissance artists none besides, perhaps, Leonardo da Vinci characterizes the age better than Michelangelo. And of all Michelangelo’s works none illustrates the spirit of the Renaissance better than his statue of David. Tall, graceful, muscular yet elegantly reserved Michelangelo’s David glorifies humanity, not above God but as the epitome of God’s creation.

The perfect form Michelangelo carved out of stone God saw first. The first reading today gives the story. The Lord tells Samuel that He does not judge by appearances but looks into a person’s heart. For this reason He dismisses the eminently fair but still wanting older sons of Jesse and finds in the youthful David the perfect candidate for king. David, of course, will lead Israel to its height as a world power. He will conquer nations and bring prosperity to the people.

Many young men would say that they would die for David’s physique, at least as portrayed by Michelangelo. And perhaps many young women would like to date such a handsome specimen. But such fantasies miss the point of what the Scripture is expressing and, probably, the sculpture as well mean to convey. Again, it is not by outward appearances that God judges but by the inner working of one’s heart. Men and women both should aspire to have David’s youthful nobility that recognizes God as the source of his strength and service to others as its purpose.