There is an interesting lesson to be gleaned from today’s Old Testament reading from Mass. David and his warriors are on the run from jealous and paranoid King Saul.

Saul has been trying to track David down and kill him when David and his men go deep into a cave to hide. Saul, not knowing David is hiding there, comes into the cave to either sleep or to relieve himself. Either way, David’s men encourage him to kill Saul. Instead he creeps up and cuts a portion from Saul’s cloak.

After Saul leaves the cave David comes out and calls down to him and shows him the portion of his cloak and says he could not kill the Lord’s anointed.

It is a good reminder about our relationship to those in authority over us. Whether it is our boss, our parent, our pastor, our bishop, our pope, our president or governor, we should not kill the Lord’s anointed.

I read increasingly bitter comments from Catholics about Pope Francis calling him a heretic, an anti pope, demon possessed—you name it. Do you know that the sins of detraction, gossip, libel and calumny are all listed in the catechism under the sin of murder? That’s because your bitter words can destroy a person’s reputation, a person’s work, a person’s good will and the person’s soul.

Do not kill the Lord’s anointed.

Other do nothing but tell us how awful Donald Trump is. I don’t like Trump. I’ve been clear in my writings that I think he is, as a person, low life. But I’m not going to waste time in bitter words and mud slinging. I’m not going to kill the Lord’s anointed.

We should all think about this. Is this the best pope ever? Maybe you don’t think so. Do you think he is a leftist, modernist heretic? Do you think Donald Trump is a stupid, lustful, greedy sleaze bag? Maybe. Do you think your boss a petty little dictator who is a sly, ambitious creep?

Well, boo hoo. Why not grow up and realize that nobody’s perfect not even you, and God uses broken people to accomplish his will and “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Well, in fact, all of the above may or may not be true, but think about it. David’s boss was actually trying to kill him and had his crack troops on the job and David still showed him respect–simply because he was “the Lord’s anointed”

This is what we call the virtue of obedience–that one is obedient to the proper authority not only when it seems nice and good, but also when it seems crazy or absurd.

Does this mean we are mindless, military drones–obeying and being obsequious? No. Its okay to criticize. Its okay to grumble. Its okay to complain. Its okay to protest and speak your mind in a mature and intelligent way. Its okay to chafe under the yoke, but at the end of the day you shall not kill the Lord’s anointed.

Obedience pays off.

If I had the time I’d tell you how I obeyed my bishop in England after I became a Catholic even though I thought he was a goof, and although it was hard, and not only hard, but often seemed frustrating and absurd, it paid off big time in the end.

So if you’re inclined to be rebellious and reject the authority over you…remember David and do not kill the Lord’s anointed.