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

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Now I Know

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 5:2-16 + I Samuel 23:29-24:22 + Daniel 4 + John 4

Quote of the Day
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. John 3:5

Daily Text: I Samuel 24:8-11, 16-20
8Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.
9 David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of those who say, 'David seeks to do you harm'? 10This very day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, 'I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.' 11See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life.
16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17He said to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the LORD put me into your hands. 19For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

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

Now I Know
There is a commandment, not called new, but in truth the only wholly new commandment in the New Testament. Found in Matthew 5:43-45 this commandment says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven….” This is, in part, what it meant for David to be a man after God’s own heart.

Saul was David’s political enemy, even God had turned against Saul, but it was to David’s credit and the understanding of God placed in his heart that he did not. If God does good toward the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt. 5:45) can we do less? This speaks directly to a Christian posture towards political and other enemies. Any other posture nullifies the grace of God expressed to us. It is perhaps the most difficult and least practiced of the Christian virtues. God help us.

And when David was able to express a loving act toward a devoted enemy, that enemy, at least for the moment, broke into tears and ‘knew’ openly the character and the destiny of David. In tears he articulates it this way: “…who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. Now I know that you shall surely be king…..” Jonathan had been aware that his father knew that this was so (I Samuel 23:17). Now Saul sees it and admits it. What we can see is how God can work in the life of a man like Saul when his servant actively ‘loves’ his sworn enemy. Jesus would surely say, “Go thou, and do likewise.”

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

Outwitted
Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
404:40

(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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