Word Magazine January 1981 Page 19


Homily by Father James C. Meena

David, being the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, obeyed his father who sent him bearing food to his brothers in Saul’s army. When he got to the battlefield, he saw that the soldiers were quaking in fear before the armies of the Philistines whose champion, Goliath, would shout insulting challenges at the armies of Israel saying, “Send your champion down and if he kills me then all the Philistines will be your servants and if I kill him then you and your men will be our servants”.

David was incensed because this uncircumcised heathen would dare to defy the Armies of God and he asked, in effect who the heck is this guy that he should defy the soldiers of the Almighty? His older brother, Eliud, answered: David, be quiet! You’re just a kid and you don’t know what you are talking about. I know what kind of mischief is going through your head.

David replied that there was a cause and that he had a right to assert himself. He went to King Saul and offered to fight Goliath. After some persuasion, Saul agreed. David went to the battlefield. As he passed by a brook, he stooped down and picked up five smooth stones, putting them in his shepherds bag. And carrying his staff in one hand and his sling in the other, he approached Goliath.

Goliath was furious. He roared: “Am I a dog, that you should send this child against me with a staff and with a sling?” David reached into his bag to take out a pebble and at that moment his hand began to shake. As he approached Goliath and saw the awesome size of the man, the heavy armor that he wore so easily, the huge sword on his hip and the oversized shield that he was carrying, beads of perspiration popped out on his forehead and he dropped the pebble.

As he stooped down to pick it up, Goliath began to advance with sword in hand. David fumbled to put the pebble back in his sling. His hand shook, fear was overcoming him. But he wound his sling around his head and flung the stone at Goliath . . . and he missed . . . and Goliath advanced and slew David.

If this story had turned out as I described it, David’s saga would never have been told. I relate it as an allegory of the young people of our Christian homes who are the Davids we send into the world to confront the Goliaths of society, and who are equipped by the training and examples of their parents and by the lessons they have learned in the Family of God, The Church, to go to this battleground and face the Philistines of skepticism, cynicism and doubt. How many have the confidence of David to know that God does not abandon them? Tragically too many of them encounter the Goliaths of agnosticism and atheism, as did the David of my allegory, and are overcome by their lack of faith that God is always trustworthy.

Too often frustrated parents tell me of sons or daughters who were raised in the faith but who, upon facing the pressures and distractions of the world become enamored of the Philistines; thinking that the Philistines of the cynical, the doubtful, the philosophical are truly right in their concepts and forgetting the majesty and the absolute rightness of God. Overwhelmed by what they think is “intellectualism”, they begin to imitate not God and Godly people but they emulate the Godless and are slain by the Goliaths of sin.

How tragic! Playing the game of pseudo-intellectualism and allowing one’s self to think that human intellect surpasses the intellect of God and of God-inspired people, causes one to become un-Godworthy. Young people, beware that when you come down to the battlefield and confront the armies of this world’s Philistines that you be like the true David whose faith was unshakeable. He couldn’t fit into Saul’s armor and he went into battle without a sword and a shield but he used what he had, the whole armament of faith and trust in God, and with these he was victorious.

The immortal truths which our forefathers have preserved intact for us are not inventions of men. If they were, they would have died a long time ago. But because they have their origins in Divine Revelation and are guided by the Holy Spirit, our ancestors have been able to preserve them for us intact. In an unbroken procession of historical integrity we come to the present time when you and I must face challenges of the Goliaths of this world either with faith or with fear. With fear we are defeated, but with faith we are unconquerable.