The story of David and Saul in today’s First Reading functions almost like a parable. Showing mercy to his deadly foe, David gives a concrete example of what Jesus expects to become a way of life for his disciples.
The new law Jesus gives in today’s Gospel would have us all become “Davids” — loving our enemies, doing good to those who would harm us, extending a line of credit to those who won’t ever repay us.
The old law required only that the Israelites love their fellow countrymen (see Leviticus 19:18). The new law Jesus brings makes us kin to every man and woman (see also Luke 10:29-36). His kingdom isn’t one of tribe or nationality. It’s a family.
As followers of Jesus, we’re to live as he lived among us — as “children of the Most High” (see Luke 6:35; 1:35). As sons and daughters, we want to walk in the ways of our heavenly Father, to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Grateful for His mercy, we’re called to forgive others their trespasses because God has forgiven ours.
In the context of today’s liturgy, we’re all “Sauls” — by our sinfulness and pride we make ourselves enemies of God. But we’ve been spared a death we surely deserved to die because God has loved and shown mercy to his enemies, “the ungrateful and the wicked,” as Jesus says.
Jesus showed us this love in his Passion, forgiving his enemies as they stripped him of cloak and tunic, cursed him and struck him on the cheek, condemned him to death on a cross (see Luke 22:63-65; 23:34). “He redeems your life from destruction,” David reminds us in today’s Psalm.
That’s the promise, too, of today’s Epistle: That we who believe in the “last Adam,” Jesus, will rise from the dead in his image, as today we bear the image of the “first Adam,” who by his sin made God an enemy and brought death into the world (see 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.
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