The story of King David who weeps over the death of his son “shows us God’s heart, what the Lord does with us when we move away from Him, what the Lord does when we destroy ourselves with sin, disoriented, lost.” Yet, “In the moment of temptation, in the moment of sin, in the moment in which we distance ourselves from God, let us try to listen to this voice: 'My son, my daughter, why?’”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Inspired by the passage from Second Book of Samuel, which describes the end of the long battle waged by Absalom against his father, the pontiff noted that Jesus wept "because we do not let him love us", as David wept at the news of the death of his son who had turned against him.
In his summary of the biblical story, Francis stressed the fact that David suffered from the war his son, Absalom, had unleashed against him by convincing the people to fight alongside him, so much so that David had to flee Jerusalem to save his life.
Yet, “[M]y son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you,” is the anguished cry of a tearful David, at the news of his son’s death.
David had been “Barefoot, his head covered, insulted by some, with others throwing stones at him, because everyone stood by this son who had deceived the people, and seduced the hearts of the people with promises.”
In today's passage we see David waiting for news from the front and the arrival, finally, of a messenger informing him that Absalom had died in battle. At the news David wept. And those around him marvelled at this reaction.
“Why are you weeping? He was against you, he repudiated you, he denied your paternity, he insulted you, he persecuted you. Instead, celebrate, celebrate because you won!”
But all David said was – My son, my son! – and wept. David’s lamentation is a historical fact but also a prophecy. It shows us God’s heart, what the Lord does with us when we move away from Him, what the Lord does when we destroy ourselves with sin, disoriented, lost. The Lord is a father and never denies his paternity ‘My son, my son’, he says.
We encounter God’s weeping when we confess our sins, because it is not like "going to the dry cleaners" to remove a stain. It is instead going “to the father who weeps for me, because he is a father.”
For Francis, David's words, “my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you” are prophetic, and in God they “become reality”.
"The fatherly love God has for us is so great that he died in our place. He became man and died for us. When we look at the crucifix, we should think of this, 'I have died instead of you', and hear the voice of the father who tells us through his son: 'My son, my son'. God does not repudiate his children; God does not trade his paternity.”
God’s love goes to extreme extents. What is on the cross, the Pope said again, is God, the Son of the Father, sent to give his life for us. “It will do us good in the bad moments of our life – we all have them, moments of sin, moments of estrangement from God – to hear this voice in the heart: 'My son, my daughter, what are you doing? Don't commit suicide, please. I died for you.”
Jesus wept looking at Jerusalem. Jesus wept "because we don't let him love us," reiterated Francis. So, “In the moment of temptation, in the moment of sin, in the moment in which we distance ourselves from God, let us try to listen to this voice: 'My son, my daughter, why?’”