4th Week in Ordinary Time


The king was grieving for his son.


The messenger who brought King David news of Absalom’s death thought he was delivering good news.   After all, Absalom—David’s third son—had rebelled and tried to wrest the kingdom from his father.   But David saw it only as horrible news.   All he could do was weep.

David’s relationship with Absalom was certainly rocky.   Absalom had killed his older brother, Amnon, as revenge for having raped Absalom’s sister Tamar.   Then, disgusted at the lenient way David had treated Amnon, Absalom set himself up as a rival king and led a rebellion against him.   Despite all David’s efforts at reconciliation and peace, the story ended tragically.

We have probably all experienced crushing disappointments like David’s.   Things don’t always seem to turn out for the best.   A terminal illness strikes.   A daughter decides to stay with an abusive spouse.   A dear friend sinks deeper into addiction.   It’s a mystery why such things happen.   We try to trust that God will not abandon us, but sometimes we feel alone.   Well-meaning friends may try to cheer us up, but sometimes tears are the only possible response.

When we pour out our hearts like that, we are in good company.   Jesus himself grieved.   When his friend Lazarus died, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).   Countless saints too suffered losses that caused them grief and agony.   But when they poured out their hearts to God, he came into their grief.   He might not have taken it away, but he walked through it with them.

Grief is authentic, and expressing it can sometimes be the best thing for us.   David grieved over Absalom, and it was right. Jesus grieved over Lazarus, and it was right.   You should feel free to grieve your losses.   But don’t grieve alone.   Bring your sorrow to the Lord;   lay it before him and let him grieve with you.   Let him remind you that he promises “to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:2).   Let him remind you that your Father is “the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement” (2 Corinthians 1:3).   Then, when you have poured out your heart, rest in him and let his love wash over you.

“Jesus, you were well acquainted with the grief that weighs me down.   Help me to join my tears with yours.”

Psalm 86:1-6
Mark 5:21-43


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