Sunday Vigil

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Samuel 12,1-7.10-17

Yahweh sent the prophet Nathan to David. He came to him and said: In the same town were two men, one rich, the other poor. The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance; the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, only a single little one which he had bought. He fostered it and it grew up with him and his children, eating his bread, drinking from his cup, sleeping in his arms; it was like a daughter to him. When a traveller came to stay, the rich man would not take anything from his own flock or herd to provide for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead, he stole the poor man's lamb and prepared that for his guest. David flew into a great rage with the man. 'As Yahweh lives,' he said to Nathan 'the man who did this deserves to die. For doing such a thing and for having shown no pity, he shall make fourfold restitution for the lamb.' Nathan then said to David, 'You are the man! Yahweh, God of Israel, says this, "I anointed you king of Israel, I saved you from Saul's clutches, For this, your household will never be free of the sword, since you showed contempt for me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite, to make her your wife." 'Yahweh says this, "Out of your own household I shall raise misfortune for you. Before your very eyes I shall take your wives and give them to your neighbour, who will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have worked in secret, but I shall work this for all Israel to see, in broad daylight." ' David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against Yahweh.' Nathan then said to David, 'Yahweh, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die. But, since you have outraged Yahweh by doing this, the child born to you will die.' And Nathan went home. Yahweh struck the child which Uriah's wife had borne to David and it fell gravely ill. David pleaded with Yahweh for the child; he kept a strict fast and went home and spent the night lying on the ground, covered with sacking. The officials of his household stood round him, intending to get him off the ground, but he refused, nor would he take food with them.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord sends Nathan to David so that he acknowledge his sin and repent. It is the task entrusted to the preaching of the Word even today. Pride blinds and prevents us from seeing even the most evident sin in which we have fallen. We need the Word to show us our sin and illuminate our heart on the path of conversion. Denouncing the sin is not enough. The Lord does not want the death of the sinner, but that he may repent and live. Nathan, wanting to make David understand the abyss into which he fell, tells the parable of a wealthy landowner who steals from the poor man the only sheep he had. David reacts strongly and immediately pronounces a hard sentence. It is surprising that David does not recognize himself in the abusive figure. Pride blinds everyone. We need someone who explains to us the Word of God. Indeed, David does not understand his sin till Nathan tells him clearly: "You are the man!" Listening to the Word of God once for ever is not sufficient, we need to listen to it frequently and to be explained to us so that it may reach our heart. Nathan explains to David the meaning of the parable: first, he enumerates the gifts God had given him, and then lets him know how instead he had "despised the word of the Lord" committing what was evil. Nathan's words had their immediate medicinal effect. David does not try to justify himself. He welcomes the judgment of the Word of God, recognizes his sin and says, "I have sinned against the Lord." In front of the prophet, David confesses his sin. And through Nathan, the Lord forgives David. In his exchange with Nathan, David knows with certainty that the Lord forgave him. We need an envoy from God to whom we can confess our sins. The prophet's word assures us, as it assured David: "Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die." John Chrysostom comments: "Consider that God is slow to punish and quick to save." Israel's tradition puts Psalm 50, the best known of the penitential Psalms, on David's lips. Christian piety puts the psalm on each disciple's lips in the awareness that each of us needs God's forgiveness.