Daily Reflection
January 28th, 2000
Deb Fortina
Academic Affairs
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Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor - Memorial 
2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17
Psalms 51:3-7, 10-11
Mark 4:26-34

The second Ammonite campaign.  David’s sin  “…She (Bethsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah, the Hittite) came to him (David), and he lay with her...The woman conceived and sent word to David, ‘I am pregnant.’…”             2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17 

A prayer of contrition  “…God create in me a clean heart, renew within me a resolute spirit, do not thrust me away from your presence do not take away from me your spirit of holiness.” 
                                                          Psalm 51: 3-7, 10-11

Parable of the seed growing by itself   “…A man scatters seed on the land…Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot…and when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come….”                        Mark 4:26-34

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of Catholic colleges, and universities, scholars, students, philosophers and theologians.  This pious saint of the 13th century was brilliant and a great scholar whose works are still in use today.  Many miracles were recorded both during and after his death.  Let all of us in educational communities today pray for St. Thomas’ intercession, that our work and efforts will bear fruit, we ask this in the name of the Lord. 

In our everyday lives we read or hear about the horrors of war, or we hear about the many sins being committed against humanity.  For some of us our stories are making the news.  We hear some feel-good stories of the efforts of people trying to help their neighbor.  Our television programming and movies are filled with action and excitement, with sex and violence, and with a sprinkling of stories that make you feel proud to be human.   This is our human reality today.  Some people choose not to read the newspapers, or listen to TV broadcasts, because they can’t take all of the sorrow.

Today’s readings connect us to the humanity of a time long ago.  Starting out with the first reading in 2nd Samuel, one might think we are still reading today’s newspaper, or some soap opera summary, instead of the bible.  We come to a scene, in the midst of war, and read about David, who upon spying a woman bathing, is enamored with her beauty.  He sends for the woman, named Bethsheba, who is married and takes her to his bed.  She becomes pregnant, and then David sets it up so that her husband, Uriah (Joab’s armor bearer) is moved to the front line on the battlefield, in hopes that his life will be ended, which it is.  After waiting the proper amount of time for mourning, David takes Bethsheba into his house and weds her and she bears him a son.   The chapter ends with “what David had done displeased Yahweh.” (2 Sam 11:27)  It wasn’t a feel good story.

In Psalm 51, we read about another very human trait, when we hear David lamenting to God about his sinfulness in going to Bethsheba.  Nathan, the prophet, has just visited David.  So with a contrite heart he says to the Lord, “But you delight in sincerity of heart, and in secret you teach me wisdom.” (Ps 51:6)  He asks God to “Turn away your face from my sins, and wipe away all my guilt.” (Ps 51:9)  How about us, do we need someone to call us on some of our transgressions?

In Mark we are reminded that the seed growing on good ground will germinate, grow and be harvested in good time.  Each day as we process all of the information and story lines that surround us, our lives are being influenced.  Somebody else’s story causes you to wonder how you would react if it happened to you.  In order to produce the fruit of God’s Kingdom, we must let God influence us as well.  We see David fully human, a leader, a sinner, but also a penitent.  David depends on God to help him turn his life around, and God did not quit calling him, through Nathan, to that state of wakefulness.   Let us turn down some of that daily noise so that we too can hear God’s call to return to Him, a call of repentance in order to be replenished.  Let us pray for the gift of wisdom, the ability to see life’s encounters in the Light, so that we may find our way onto the narrow path.  Where we end up at the end of the journey is the most important. 

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