I’ve been watching the Republican and Democratic debates and, like many, I’m worried about the future. Who’s going to lead us?
Today’s Old Testament reading from the Book of Samuel at Mass makes clear that, in the case of David’s accession as leader of the Jews, there’s no debate, nor primaries, nor votes by the people. God decides. “Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way,” God says to Samuel, “I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
Samuel goes through all of Jesse’s sons, but none fit the bill. “Not him, not him, not him,” God says as one after the other are brought to Samuel. “Are these all the sons you have?” Samuel asks,
Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said, “There–anoint him, for this is he!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.” I Samuel 16,1-13)
Is God is still interested in leaders for our people? Does God send the Spirit on them? Questions we don’t ask in our secular world.
“Anoint him, there he is,” God says to Samuel, and the prophet pours the horn of olive oil on David. Know what the oil poured upon the new king means? He’s anointed. He has strength and power he didn’t have before. The unprepared young shepherd, David, last on Jesse’s list, needs God’s grace to lead the people. You need grace to lead.
Be nice for our candidates to realize that. And us too.