Saints Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs (Memorial)
When David's time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: 'If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.'
Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly etablished.
Blessed are you, O Lord,
the God of Israel, our father,
for ever, for ages unending. (R./)
Yours, Lord, are greatness and power,
and splendour, triumph and glory.
All is yours, in heaven and on earth. (R./)
Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom,
you are supreme over all.
Both honour and riches come from you. (R./)
You are the ruler of all,
from your hand come strength and power,
from your hand come greatness and might. (R./)
Jesus called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Politicians and celebrities are not alone in their desire to leave a legacy behind them. This idea of leaving a legacy must be almost universal, once a person has come to terms with his or her mortality. Nobody wants to feel that their life in this world was utterly insignificant, blown away like dust in the wind, with nothing tangible to mark our few decades of life. It drives people to work so hard for success, to make a mark in society, hoping for some monument to their memory after they die. The most universal legacy is what parents leave behind to their children, by their example and the insights they try to share.
David’s deathbed advice to Solomon illustrates how conscientious parents hope to leave a moral legacy to their children. The old king knows that he is about to die and urges his successor to live a noble life, “walking in the ways of the Lord your God.” The distinctive flavour of the book of Deuteronomy suffuses this account, repeating its concern for God’s “statutes, his commandments and his ordinancess.” Here David affirms the law of Moses as the code of morality for Israel. He ends his advice with the recurring motivation, “so that you may prosper in all that you do.”
The legacy of Jesus has more to do with sharing the good news of God’s love and mercy. He had taught them much about the kingdom of God, the state of harmony and renewal. The life God wants for mankind cannot be selfish and must be shared. Jesus sent his disciples two by two, to spread his vision. What he has share with them must be shared with others. The task is so urgent that they should not even care about luggage or money. While this frugality seems extreme, it gives a clear sign of the priorities he would like to see among his followers.
He sends them out to do what he was doing, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. Jesus needed others to help him do what he was sent to do. He continues to need us today for this work. We are to be his eyes, his ears, his hands, his voice. St Paul saw the church as the body of Christ in the world. He was very clear that every member of Christ’s body had a vital role to play.
The church can only be fully alive when everyone plays the role they are called to play in passing on the legacy of Jesus. There are no second class citizens in the church. Each is a vital member, with a mission in the world.