4th Sunday of Lent
Christian Initiation: 2nd Scrutiny
There are two people going through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) in our Parish right now and so we have the beautiful privilege of reading the set of readings specifically for the Scrutinies, the final Sundays before they are received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Today, I am at home with a sick baby and so I took the quiet nap time to dive deeper into the 2nd Scrutiny readings. The first reading from 1 Samuel 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13 relays the account of Samuel anointing David as King of Israel by the instruction of God. The final verse of this account struck me in a particular way today. It is as follows:
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him [David] in the presence of his brothers…” (1 Samuel 16:13).
I began to think what that must have been like for his brothers to witness. Even Samuel himself was surprised at God’s choice, and would have chosen David’s brother Eliab. What must they have thought? What must they have felt in their hearts at this clear distinction being made between David and the rest of his brothers? Maybe they went up and congratulated David afterwards like good, loving brothers; or maybe they became envious and fell into self-pity wondering, “Why weren’t we chosen? What’s wrong with us?” I tend to think they may have done the latter.
In general, we tend to want things to be fair and equal for everyone, and we are in an uproar, whether interiorly or exteriorly when someone else is recognized or celebrated and we are not. Do not children do this very thing at a birthday party when the birthday boy or girl gets a present and they don’t? This is called envy and it is one of the seven deadly sins. As I read this passage I felt God clearly speaking the following words in my heart, “It is okay when others are chosen and celebrated, and you are not. A hidden life is a humbling life, and for you is the path to heaven. If I choose this path for you it is because you are susceptible to pride, and if you were to be chosen in this way [worldly honour or recognition], your soul would perish. Rejoice, then that you have not been chosen for worldly acclaim, for I desire your soul to be with me in eternity so much, I do not wish to subject you to even the temptation of pride.”
Maybe a day will come when I am able to be chosen and it will glorify God, but for now a hidden life will serve Him best. Praise God for that!