Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
(II Samuel 11:1-4a.5-10a.13-17; Mark 4:26-34)
The words, “I am pregnant,” can bring joy or misery depending on their context. When a young husband hears them, his heart leaps with hope. But if they are spoken to a lecher like King David, they are wrought with desperation. In order to hide his guilt, David has his paramour’s husband killed. Today it is easier to go after the defenseless child.
Behind the emotions lies the truth about sexual intercourse. As the Church has consistently taught, intercourse can contribute to human welfare. Done within marriage, it may produce offspring assuring the perpetuation of family. It also brings a greater sense of wholeness to the couple. Carried out licentiously, on the other hand, intercourse may be initially gratifying but ultimately disturbs the natural order. It will scar its perpetrators and jeopardize the welfare of their progeny.
Surmounting the challenge posed by illicit sexual desire requires fortitude. As we know from the tragedies of kings as majestic as David, such strength of purpose is not readily achieved. But our source of fortitude comes from the gospel. Planted deep within our souls, the word of God spreads to all parts of our being. It makes us as gracious as the mustard tree giving refuge to the birds. It strengthens us like wheat growing tall in the field to resist pestilent desires.