And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; and
you have made this generous promise to your servant. 2
David had big plans with a noble purpose. He was going to build a temple for the Lord. We get a sense of this grand plan in the Psalm reading for today. Building a temple was perhaps even an obsession. David says in the Psalm that he will not enter his house or even sleep until he finds a home for the Lord. No doubt he had dreamed up some grand plans, perhaps even saved some timber and set aside some other resources for this temple. However, God had a much larger plan. As big as David’s plan was, God had something grander, more inclusive, and more lasting in mind. The Psalm also gives us a glimpse into this plan (for more see the first reading for January 30). Rather than a temple, God tells David that He is establishing a people through his family.
The first reading for today picks up after Nathan has just informed David of God’s “grander” plan which, by the way, puts the task of building the temple in the hands of the next generation. The reading for today in Second Samuel records David’s grateful response to this new bigger vision for the kingdom, even though it means dropping his plans to build the temple. First David humbly acknowledges the awesomeness of what God had already done. “Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, that you have brought me to this point?” David then asks God’s blessings on the household with expectant hope that the vision can be carried out. In the Luke response in the responsorial reading we see that the grand vision of David’s heritage reported by Nathan is only a foretaste of the even broader plan that includes a savior that brings all people into the grand kingdom scheme.
Obsessive plans have a way of becoming idolatrous. Regardless of the initial intention to honor God, we can become so obsessed with building our “temple” that we invest our heart, soul, and mind into it, rather than in worship and open service to the Lord. Are we scheming or even building a temple that is becoming our obsession? Would we be willing to drop our plans immediately if we had a clear sign that something different was required? Are we open to visions that go far beyond what we think we can handle?
If we get obsessed with our own plans we might be tempted to cut corners and adopt an “ends justify the means” approach. The reading from Mark reminds us that things hidden will come to light. The means will be known and if they are unethical there will be harmful consequences. Another temptation that comes with obsessive plans is that of hoarding for the grand scheme. We cannot give resources or time to anything else. We withdraw our attention from relationships and other needs in order to focus our resources and energies on the grand plan. Yes, we do sometimes get a call to a mission that demands our all. The readings for today remind us to keep checking those big plans with God and to be open to the possibility that our vision may be too limited. They also remind us that ethical behavior and generosity matter. Sometimes our generosity or ethical choices become the real grander lasting legacy in the kingdom after our “temple” is long gone.
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