There is a lot going on in today’s scripture readings and everyone seems to have a problem. In the first reading from 2 Samuel 15, King David gets word that one of his sons, Absalom, is coming to take over so he orders all to flee and weeps. As he flees, he runs into a man from the clan of King Saul who curses at him and throws stones. Yikes! So much for being chosen King by the Lord!
In the Gospel reading from Mark 5, Jesus runs into a man possessed by many unclean spirits. The unclean spirits named Legion, pleaded with Jesus not to drive them from the territory. They beg him to let them enter about 2000 swine which Jesus permits and once they do, the swine rush down a steep bank into the sea and drown. Talk about having a problem! The swineherd just lost 2000 swine and they ran away to report the incident. At least there was one thankful person, the possessed man. But he was disappointed too because he wanted to stay with Jesus but was told to go home to his family and announce to them the pity that the Lord had on him.
Reading these passages make my problems in life seem pretty trivial. My problems are real yet because I have scripture, tradition and the teaching authority of the church, I have a better understanding of the saving power of Jesus. Psalm 3, just as it was lamented at the time of David’s struggles in the passage today, gives me great hope that whatever comes my way, my God is there to save.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries! Many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “There is no salvation for him in God.”
But you, O LORD, are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head! When I call out to the LORD, he answers me from his holy mountain.
When I lie down in sleep, I wake again, for the LORD sustains me. I fear not the myriads of people arrayed against me on every side.