Rev. John P. Cush is a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn. He serves as Academic Dean and as a formation advisor at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City-State. Fr. Cush holds the Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor of Theology and U.S. Catholic Church History. He has served as a parish priest, high school seminary teacher, and as a Censor Librorum for his Diocese, as well as a theological consultant for NET TV. Fr. Cush is a regular contributor to the Brooklyn Tablet and the Albany Evangelist.
From the First Book of Kings:
When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 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, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons 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 man on the throne of Israel.’ (1 Kings 2-4)
And so, the story of David ends, at least on this earthly plane. Having ruled for 40 years, this shepherd-boy-turned-king now goes the way of all flesh. Imagine what possibly was on his mind at this moment, perhaps his last moments on earth: perhaps it’s his victories, from a young age over Goliath and the Philistines, his conquering of the enemies of Israel. Perhaps it’s his friendship with Jonathan; perhaps it’s his many wives. Perhaps even it’s his complex relationships with his predecessor, Saul, or perhaps it’s his relationships with the prophets. Maybe the king was thinking about his children, the one whom he lost from Bathsheba, perhaps Absalom, perhaps Solomon, his successor, who sits with him now. Perhaps he’s focusing on his sins, his failures before the people of Israel as their shepherd and king.
Above all else, I’d like to think that he’s right now focusing, as he lay dying, on his relationship with the Lord, to whom he composed the Psalms, before whom he danced with wild abandon out of sheer joy, the Lord who never left his side, never, ever abandoned him, even when he abandoned the Lord’s way to follow his own way. Perhaps, right now, he’s realizing that all of his life, he’s part of something bigger, so much bigger in the plan of God- from his descendants, the Christ of Israel, the true King and Eternal Priest will come.
The same is true for us in our lives. We can focus on all the events in our lives, on all the people with whom we have been blessed, and we can realize one thing today — we are here because God wants us to be here. We have been placed in each other’s lives this day because, somehow, for some reason, it is all part of God’s plan for salvation, our own salvation and the salvation of the world. Out of us, out of our own meager little contributions, God’s plan is unfolding. Our task, our goal is to be open, docile, and attentive to it by living out our vocations in this world. Only in doing so can we, one day, many years from now, be like David, “prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.’