In the first reading for today's Mass (1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22a) the prophet Samuel asks a question of the Israelites that he might just as well have asked us this morning: whom will you choose to rule over you? A king just like everyone else has? (That was their demand.) Or God?
Look around you, he says. Those who have chosen conventional rulers--in our day, maybe social approval, material success, power even on a domestic scale, or any one of the other little rulers who serve the great god Ego--how have they fared? Samuel suggests you'll find them impoverished victims, even slaves, of rapacious tyrants. The gospel story (Mark 2:1-12), under the image of the paralytic to hint that you'll found them bound and paralyzed, like the prey of poisonous spiders trapped and wrapped in shrouds of web.
And those who have chosen God as their ruler instead? The evangelist Mark suggests that you'll find them skipping down the road, mats under their arms. Free. And happily heading for home. Look! There's one. He and his four friends are chattering and laughing. And there goes another one. She just turned back for a minute to wave her thanks to Jesus. And there's another...
Copyright 2012, Abbey of St. Walburga