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

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Like the Judges of Old

Daily Readings
Psalm 103 + I Samuel 14 + Judith 10 + Hebrews 7

Quote of the Day
As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13, 14

Daily Text: I Samuel 14:6, 12, 13, 23-30, 41, 45, 47
6Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will act for us; for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few." 12The men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer, saying, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Come up after me; for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel." 13Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer following after him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer, coming after him, killed them. 23So the LORD gave Israel the victory that day. The battle passed beyond Beth-aven, and the troops with Saul numbered altogether about ten thousand men. The battle spread out over the hill country of Ephraim.
24 Now Saul committed a very rash act on that day. He had laid an oath on the troops, saying, "Cursed be anyone who eats food before it is evening and I have been avenged on my enemies." So none of the troops tasted food. 25All the troops came upon a honeycomb; and there was honey on the ground. 26When the troops came upon the honeycomb, the honey was dripping out; but they did not put their hands to their mouths, for they feared the oath. 27But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the troops with the oath; so he extended the staff that was in his hand, and dipped the tip of it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes brightened. 28Then one of the soldiers said, "Your father strictly charged the troops with an oath, saying, 'Cursed be anyone who eats food this day.' And so the troops are faint." 29Then Jonathan said, "My father has troubled the land; see how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30How much better if today the troops had eaten freely of the spoil taken from their enemies; for now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great." 41Then Saul said, "O LORD God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant today? If this guilt is in me or in my son Jonathan, O LORD God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim." And Jonathan and Saul were indicated by the lot, but the people were cleared. 45Then the people said to Saul, "Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great victory in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground; for he has worked with God today." So the people ransomed Jonathan, and he did not die.
47 When Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side--against Moab, against the Ammonites, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines; wherever he turned he routed them.

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

Like the Judges of Old
Like the judges of old, Jonathan intuits the ways of God, and makes his moves in synchrony with God’s ways. On this day he becomes the point person in a successful battle with the Philistines that results in their being driven from the hills of Ephraim back to the plains of their normal occupation. From that day Saul is in control of the hill country.

Saul, on the other hand, pious though he appears to be, is not in synchrony with God. Rather, he appears to be in synchrony with what he thinks a king should be. So going into battle he makes a rash vow that no one is to eat until evening after he is avenged on his enemies. This gets him and Israel into trouble. His men are weakened, the Philistines, though defeated, are able to escape, his son sees and articulates his foolishness, and ultimately his son is condemned and then ransomed by the army over his own word. Whether he is glad or not to have his son spared, he, Saul, ends up looking and being weak and foolish. The text has turned sour on Saul. His record is tarnished. He may be tall and handsome, but he comes out of the record as impulsive, vain and without adequate insight into the ways of God. From this time forth his own son, loved and cherished by the people, always looks better than his father. How many times in the future does he act contrary to his father’s wishes to protect his father from serious error?

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

God Give Us Men
Josiah Gilbert Holland

God give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill’;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
404:121

(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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