A reading from the second Book of Samuel 15:13-14, 30;16:5-13
An informant came to David with the report, “The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.” At this, David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem: “Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us, then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword.”
As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went.
As David was approaching Bahurim, a man named Shimei, the son of Gera of the same clan as Saul’s family, was coming out of the place, cursing as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the king’s officers, even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard, were on David’s right and on his left. Shimei was saying as he cursed: “Away, away, you murderous and wicked man! The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul, in whose stead you became king, and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom. And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.” Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.” But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours, sons of Zeruiah, that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’” Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants: “If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.” David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.
REFLECTION: "As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot."
Visitors in Florence will see Michelangelo's David---a 17 foot powerful, young, athletic, muscular man ready for battle. In contrast, in 2 Samuel, David is a defeated man--weeping, head covered and barefooted. This was the most troubling time in his life.
His family, his life were in turmoil. Israel turned against David, his son Absalom is the leader of the coup and killing his father is his goal. This was personal--it involved his family, involved his character and the nation was seeking to inflict pain on him. Saul's relative pelts him with stones. Yet, David's response to Shimei shows that he is trying to learn from his failures and defeats. He wants God to restore to him His blessings.
God did not forsake David.There were faithful servants and soldiers who remained with David. During these dark moments David sought out God and God never left him.
We wonder what made David " a man after God's own heart." We seek to know the personal qualities he possessed that were especially pleasing to God. When we go through personal turmoil, how do we react ? Absalom never sought reconciliation nor did he find the time to right their disagreement, but it never changed David's love for his son. He sought him out, did not wish him harm and had unconditional love. Just like God's unconditional love for us.--He will continue to pursue us and never quit loving us. He waits for us to receive His love and peace.
"Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you--for you alone?" (St Therese of Lisieux) Go visit Him.