Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-28)
Samuel is an old man in today’s first reading. He grieves for Saul or, better, on account of Saul. Samuel believed that Saul would lead Israel to greatness as a nation. He no doubt hoped that Saul would not only unite the nation and defeat its enemies, but also bring about a divine righteousness. Reality has proven otherwise. Saul himself has been disobedient to the Lord’s commands. Samuel probably wonders if all his efforts were for nothing, if human endeavor could ever bring forth social progress. However, God is more patient with people than Samuel. He does not give up on humanity but constantly renews its hope. He sends Samuel on a mission to find the man who might fulfill the destiny that Samuel once envisioned.
The tale is reminiscent of a recent book that has been published regarding the education of today’s youth. The author laments that young people today are not being prepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. Rather than being challenged and duly criticized as in previous generations, the author finds the young being continually coddled. The author seems much like Samuel in his lament over Saul. But it should be remembered that old men and women have always fretted over younger generations. They have perennially considered the young as lacking basic preparation to meet life’s challenges. Although education for the future is always a legitimate concern, people often lack the perspicacity to evaluate its potential.
We believe that God has revealed what He expects of humans in Jesus. In a very real sense, humans have reached their pinnacle in him. Even more than Shakespeare in drama or Beethoven in music, Jesus shows us how we should live. We are wise to evaluate our progress of virtue not so much in comparison to past generations but mostly to him.