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Lectionary 201: David: Dec.24th

December 23, 2013


Scripture: Lectionary 201. Dec.24: II Samuel 7:1-5,8-11.16.  Psalm 89:2-3,4-5.27.29. Luke 1:67-79:

David is central to the revelation of who the Messiah is and what his role is. In David the royal lineage is associated with Mount Zion (Jerusalem) which becomes the capital and the Davidic  uniting the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

David became the person I meditated upon after reading the liturgical selections for today.  All three of them mention David. They helped me to relate to his meaning in my life during this Fourth week of Advent.  I thought of him in the words of Simeon that he, too, was a light of revelation to us, the Gentiles, and the glory of God’s people Israel.

Our readings from the last two days focused on Joseph who was from the royal lineage of David and thus gave a blood relationship to the righteous Joseph who was the spouse of the Virgin Mary.  Matthew helped me to understand how this lineage was important for establishing the legitimacy of Jesus as Messiah  as the legal son of Joseph.  Mary may not have been of the lineage of royalty but of priesthood since we know her cousin Elizabeth was married to the priest named Zechariah who ministered in the Temple in the account Luke gives us at the beginning of his Gospel.  Not too many lines later we read or hear the Benedictus or the Hymn of Zechariah which is used every day in the Liturgy of the Hours, specifically, Morning Praise.  The hymn mentions David in verse 69: “He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” This verse applies to the Messiah who is soon to be born of Mary and not to John the Baptist.

All of these thoughts about David help us to understand the reason then for Matthew giving attention to Joseph the son of David in the genealogy as it comes to an end.  Jesus messiahship will be from a totally different role than that of a conquering king or military leader.  The origins of the Messiah show the need for the cleansing of the blood lines of all those mentioned before Joseph and Mary.  The messiah will be born of the Virgin Mary and called the Son of God, the Son of Mary, and the Son of Joseph. He is born as a servant of the servants of God from the humble Mary and her espoused husband who had no relations with her according to Matthew.  The legal adoption of Joseph was the customary way of saying the child is mine.  The claim to Davidic origins thus comes through Joseph; the beginning of human life in the Messiah comes from Mary.

Our reading from Samuel is very important for understanding the to the role of David and is a marvelous background text for what Matthew says in chapter one of his Gospel.  II Samuel tells us that David kingdom will continue without end; this is seen in the new dimension of the Davidic kingship in Jesus, the Servant King of God.  It endures as we read in Hebrews today, yesterday, and forever.

Psalm 89 is probably the longest messianic psalm consisting of five parts.  Covenant theology is present in the verses we have today from the very first part (Psalm 89:1-5); the verses 27 and 29 in our Psalm Response pertain to part four or the covenant between God and David.

Thus we see the role of David in salvation history. He is extolled in all three readings, but we focus on the Gospel where in the hymn of Zechariah our redemption and our own spiritual belonging to the house of David comes to us through the Messiah Jesus.  We are guided on the way to peace through the morning star or the dawn rising in the East.  Thus we pray the hymn as our Morning Prayer par excellence each day in the liturgy of the Morning Praise.


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