Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 84-7.10-22a; Mark 2:1-12)
One hundred years ago the world was at war. By the end of the trial over seventeen million people lost their lives. The immediate cause of the “great war” was the assassination of the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne. It was hardly the first time that national pride represented by royalty brought disaster to myriads of people. In today’s first reading the prophet Samuel warns the people of Israel of the likelihood.
The people want a king like other nations. They are not satisfied with God ruling them. They refuse to listen to Samuel who tells them what to expect: higher taxes, the appropriation of property, and – most of all – their sons being conscripted for foreign wars. In the end their insistence carries the argument. They receive a king and will soon suffer the loss of life and limb from having a rancorous monarch.
Jesus too comes as a king but in a decidedly un-kingly way. He claims no throne but serves the people to the point of exhaustion. In today’s gospel he is surrounded by the people hungering to hear his words. He holds up a model for all to follow. He shows us how dominate our will to power by giving of ourselves for the good of others.