"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how."
How did King David get to such a state in his life that he believed he had
the right, as it were, to take whatever he wanted? Did he believe he
deserved that right? After all, he had extended the borders of Israel
beyond what they had been. He had provided a modicum of safety and security
for his nation. So, why this hubris?
It doesn't so much amaze me as it does horrify me. The vector of my
own sinfulness drives me and, I figure, all of us, in a similar direction.
But, we catch David at an interesting moment. He has achieved his
ends. He has taken Bathsheba and has ended the life of Uriah.
I imagine it's a moment of some smug satisfaction on his part, yet also possibly
some unease and confusion as well.
So, the psalm that the Church offers us today - “ that great psalm of repentance"
- is, for David, a picture of an event yet to happen. (See Saturday's
readings for the appearance of the prophet Nathan and the moment of recognition
for David.) And, I wonder whether or not it also might be a prayer that
is also a picture of a moment of recognition and repentance yet to come for
many of us.
There is such a terrible blessing in the parable that Nathan will tell David
(tomorrow). David comes to see himself for what he has done. He
meets himself in a new and profound way that allows for a powerful transformation
in his life.
But, in terms of today's reading, he is not there at that moment yet.
And so, this great psalm would have little or no meaning for him yet.
The piece I'm trying to get at is this: There are moments of recognition,
repentance, and conversion. There are moments of false and generic guilt.
Seems to me that one of the seeds to be sown in the field (to tie in the
gospel passage) is a seed of the Word of God that will one day bear much fruit
in a moment of recognition, repentance, and conversion. We don't know
how it grows, but it does.
May God hasten the growth of such seeds in our lives as we prepare to enter
into the Lenten season here in almost 4 weeks.