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Word Magazine March 1986 Page 19
“THE GODLY MAN COMES TO AN END”
Homily By Father James C. Meena
The Psalmist David wrote:
“Thou O Lord will preserve us and keep us from this generation. Save me O Lord for the Godly man cometh to an end”.
Those who are familiar with the Psalms come to understand that David was often overcome by depression and a sense of hopelessness. We may wonder why a King of such great power and fame, the great and exalted singer of Psalms, could fall into such depression. Well the reason is very simple for David fell into depression for exactly the same reasons as you and I do. David was a sinner, dissatisfied with himself, and he was aware of his sins. The great King of Israel was a failure. The great warrior fell submissively before the feet of God because of his numberless transgressions. David, who could charm the eyes out of serpents, knew that when he stood before the mercy throne of God he was as nothing.
He called out to God incessantly, knowing that despite his vast armies, despite the great wealth of his kingdom, despite his great political prowess, without God he was nothing, for in spite of all his earthly successes, each time David was overcome by his own pride God struck him down and compelled him to return to his childhood humility when he authored the shepherd’s prayer, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me, thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” (Psalm 22/23). Saint John Chrysostom, nearly a thousand years later, challenged the Christians of Byzantium by asking them why they looked for the kingdom of God in some far off place. “The Kingdom of God is here and now.” Jesus said: “the kingdom of God is within you. . . among you.” The kingdom of God is not tomorrow, it is today, not in a few minutes, it is now. We are in the kingdom of God and in the house of the Lord now, or we shall never abide therein . . . not ever.
David forgot! Time and time again his pride would get in the way and he would sin and separate himself from God. For this reason David became depressed. As one reads into the Psalms one wonders if David was not sometime even suicidal because of the depression by which he was overcome. When we are being hemmed in and pressed down on all sides by pressures and temptations, by our own pride and inadequacies, when you and I cry out: “Save me, O Lord because the Godly man comes to an end,” who is that Godly man? Do we qualify? We certainly hope so. But in our despair we call out because we have reached the end of our rope and there is nothing to hang onto except to Him, His promise, His mercy, His righteousness.
Without the promises that He has laid down before us by His ministry and His example I think the depression of life would be absolutely unbearable. St. Paul says, “If you have hope this will make you cheerful.” It is because we have hope that we are able to overcome the depression that threatens to destroy us. Hope causes us to avoid separating ourselves from God by sin, but to unite with Him in love.