Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Flea and the Calling Bird

The Feast of Mary Magdalen

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 7 + I Samuel 26 + Daniel 6 + John 20:11-18

Quote of the Day
As your life was precious today in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he rescue me from all tribulation. I Samuel 26:24

Daily Text: I Samuel 26

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

The Flea and the Calling Bird
David’s repeated reference to himself as a flea was probably not as amusing to him as it may be to us. In chapter 24 he alludes to the dog being dead so it must be the flea left alive on him that Saul pursues! In our passage today, he alludes to this. Perhaps, he liked the figure, or perhaps the scholars are correct when they suggest that these two chapters are built from the same material. But because the authors of scripture treat them both as if they are separate, so we shall treat them as having equal weight.

There is a wonder figure of speech here. David calls to Abner after stealing into the camp and lifting Saul’s royal spear and then retiring to a safe distance. Abner, waking from a deep sleep, responds by saying, “Who is the caller?” Saul then cuts in recognizing David’s voice and the dialogue shifts to him. It is at this point that David picks up the play on words and suggests that Saul is chasing a flea, this time on a calling bird, a partridge. The partridge moves through the undergrowth leading the fowler on by giving frequent calls just before moving yet once again. Davied does feel that. Here comes Saul again with five times the men that David has with him, pursuing, pursuing, pursuing. And for what? David is not going to harm him as he has now repeatedly demonstrated.

David came close to the king again because ‘the deep sleep of YHWH’ had fallen upon them (vs. 12). The point of this chapter is pointed out in this expression. Continually pursued, David is protected and given the advantage by no one less than YHWH. Saul recognizes that and ignoring it continues to pursue him. Evidence of his depravity, it nonetheless keeps David in deep unease. Again Saul recognizes David’s innocence and, properly cynical, David refuses to trust that he is safe. A flea on a calling bird indeed!

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

from Pig
Rudyard Kipling

Go, stalk the red deer o’er the heather,
Ride, follow the fox if you can!
But, for pleasure and profit together,
Allow me the hunting of Man,--
The chase of the Human, the search for the Soul
To its ruin, --the hunting of Man.
The Old Shikarri

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

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