Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
First reading for 4th Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
David has good intentions, but he, flawed, damaged and damaging, is not the man to build a house for God. Rather God will provide.
The prophesy of Nathan seems to meet its fulfilment in Solomon, who builds the Temple at Jerusalem. But in fact it finds its fulfilment in Jesus who makes the only Temple worthy of God, the Temple that is his own Body, and the Temple that is the Church.
God does not wish to live apart from his people but to be at home in us and with us.
And this wonder is what we begin to celebrate tonight, as Christmas begins….
- How do you join with others to form this living Temple?
- What works of love distinguish you/identify you?
Casting from the Basilica of the Nativity, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.