The reading from first Samuel, if you do not know the story, is puzzling. What has happened is this. Saul was the first king of Israel. He started out following God, but quickly turned away due to greed and envy. God then had the prophet Samuel anoint David as king. Now we have two kings, but Saul does not realize David is king.
David gives Saul great respect. David could have Saul killed, but recognized Saul as chosen by God. David does not want to kill the person chosen by God. David recognizes that God is in control. David knows that in time God will remove Saul and David will be recognized as king. We must always remember that God is in control and learn to live our lives understanding this teaching. David did not want to be the judge of Saul. David knew Saul had done many evil things, but David was not going to remove Saul.
Do we not see this in our world today? When we look at our leaders, we see many evil and wrong doings. Our faith teaches us we are not to judge the person. Judging belongs to God. We are to first discern and then judge the actions. Based on our discernment, we are to act, to be doers, to correct the evil and wrong doings. Our first inclination would be to admonish and correct the person who is doing wrong. But that is not what we learn from the first reading.
David defends and protects Saul from being killed. Defending and protecting those who trespass against us is God’s commandment. Chastising and reprimanding people in office whom we judge should know better is not right. Why, because we are judging. We might argue, no we are judging their actions. Fine, then apply that to yourself, not to the person in office.
Think of it this way, it is often said we need to offer constructive criticism. In all my years of management I have yet to learn of a way to offer constructive criticism that is accepted. Rather it creates division and often angers people. The Church recognizes this creation of division when people say we should deny communion to certain individuals. Denying, chastising, rebuking, scolding, all create division. They are also my judgement against someone else.
Rather, we are to love our neighbor as Jesus loves us. Forgive them for what they do. Then seek to understand. We have no idea what is truly in their heart. They can say many things, but only God knows what is in their hearts. We need to seek out these people and walk with them. Not just point out their faults or wrong doings.
Remember the law of the echo. I would take youth to work on the Indian reservations in South Dakota. As a treat, we would take short trips into caves in the Black Hills. Many of the caves were great echo chambers. You would shout Hello and it would answer back Hello. Of course, with teenagers suddenly you get “You are stupid” or “You are dumb”. Then I would shout “Maria is smart, Joey is kind, Bob is joyful” And when they heard their names and something positive, they quickly changed their words to be kinder and more loving. They realized when someone said something nice about their friends it really made them feel much better. That is the gospel today. Focus on what people need – that is to be loved, not judged. Then together we can change the world.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen