Monday, January 5, 2009

At the King’s table--with crippled feet

Returning to our Eucharistic covenant story: When the final battle had been fought, Saul and Jonathan were dead and David was on the throne. But the new king remembered his covenant with Jonathan and wept over his death. Remembrance and fidelity are integral to the biblical notion of covenant. The covenant extended to the whole family of Saul and Jonathan, as well as to themselves. So David made inquiry: “Is there anyone belonging to Saul's family left, to whom I might show faithful mercy for Jonathan's sake? He is told “There is still one of Jonathan's sons. He is lives in hiding in an old shack in the desert of Lodebar. He has crippled feet as he fell from his nurses arms during the battle”

David sent for him. On entering David's presence, the boy--Meribbal fell at the king's feet, saying, “Here I am at your service.” But David replied “Do not be afraid. I will indeed treat you with faithful love for your father Jonathan's sake. I shall restore all your grandfather Saul's estates to you and you will always eat at my table.” Merribal prostrated himself and said: “Who is your servant, for you to show favour to a dead dog like me?”

The Covenant remembered
King David then said to Ziba an old servant of the late king Saul: “Everything belonging to Saul and his family, I give to the boy. You must work the land for him. You must harvest and produce food for him and his family. But Merribal himself, will always take his own meals at my table.”

The story ends on this touching note: “Merribal lived in Jerusalem, since he always ate at the king's table. He was crippled in both feet.” We too, come like Merribal to have our dignity restored and to find healing. The years that “the locusts have eaten” are restored. The past is forgotten, our sins are blotted out. As we live by the covenant we enjoy the good things of the kingdom. We are invited to eat at the King's table and enjoy the fruits of his merciful love all the days of our life. This are the thoughts should occupy our hearts as we sit at the royal table of Eucharist.

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