Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Who isn’t able to identify with King David? His weaknesses and his strengths are ours. He defeated Goliath; yet he is also the one who killed Uriah. His moments of special blessing by the Lord seem equally matched by his ability to forget the Lord’s favor and act on his own, woefully mistaken initiative. In today’s reading, he impulsively offers to build a house of dwelling for the Lord—a worthy and noble initiative. But it is not the initiative which God wants. God will build his own dwelling place and God doesn’t need David to do it.
In this season of Christmas, we see the culmination of God’s plans to build Himself a dwelling. He doesn’t use timber or stone, but human flesh. He dwells in a human person, Jesus the Christ. In so doing, God has saved the world and given all of us wandering, stumbling fools—sons of David—the hope that one day we might all dwell in the fullness of God’s presence. Come Lord Jesus!
—Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J.
Lord, whatever it is that we “build” today, let our motivation be Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam — for the greater glory of God. Even if our work would be viewed by others as inconsequential, if it is performed to give glory to God, that effort is meaningful. Lord, we surrender our every action to you and we approach the babe in the manager with a reverence, hope, and dedication to the underserved and the broken hearted.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!