Today’s reading about David always reminds me of the story of Cinderella. When the prince comes to try the slippers on her step-sisters in the more violent versions of the fairy tale, the mother of those sisters actually cuts their feet in order to make them fit into the slipper. Prince Charming notices blood, or at least that the poor ladies were limping. Cinderella’s older step-sisters shed their own blood to try to save themselves and have themselves approved by the prince.
God corrects the seven sons of Jesse as well as the prophet Samuel, “God does not look at appearances, but at the heart.” Those who were strong in appearance, experienced, who exuded confidence, were rejected by God. He chose the young, humble David to become king of his people in place of Saul.
Sometimes we can get stuck worrying about how we appear before God, trying to be perfect, to do everything right – forcing the glass slipper to fit even if it means cutting off our heel! That’s the problem of the Pharisees in today’s Gospel: they think that the secret to a life of holiness consists in doing everything in accordance with the letter of the law. Jesus teaches them that the entirety of the Law was there to allow men to enter into the Sabbath – the rest of God. Man was made for that rest, and Jesus comes to give us that rest if we will only come after Him, “Take my yoke upon you and learn for me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Don’t let your spiritual life turn into forcing yourself into a shoe that is too small – practices and the search for what is perfect and strong in the eyes of men. Let your heart take courage as it draws closer to Jesus and follows Him trusting in His mercy.