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.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bedfellows: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 10 with poem by Alfred Tennyson, Remorse

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 19, I Samuel 31, I Chronicles 10, Galatians 3

Daily Text: I Chronicles 10

Saul becomes the central figure of I Chronicles for chapter 10 alone, whereas in I Samuel his story took 23 chapters [516:14]. In this recital he and his sons die, his sons at the hand of Philistines, he himself by his own hand, well almost. The theology of the Chronicler is clear; Saul has sinned and the LORD has required his life. How did he sin? By consulting a medium. Actually, the Chronicler states that he did not consult the LORD; however, I Samuel 28:6 says that he did try and the LORD was so unhappy with him that he refused to respond. Presumably, the Chronicler has divined the intent of his heart, for his death was the consequence of his sin. Sin and death are bedfellows. They cannot in fact be separated. Sin always leads to death.

That is indeed why Jesus had to die as he did; however, his death only proves the rule. Sin led to his death that our sin might lead through him to life. Saul's particular death was rudely treated. To have one’s body left open to the elements without burial was a mark of deep disrespect, even hate, on the part of the Philistines. The men of Jabesh-gilead corrected that part of the slur against Saul’s memory by retrieving his body and that of his sons, and burying them respectfully in their own town. They could do little about his head, his armor or the reality that the army had made a “mass exodus from the richest part of the land [516:15]. Dealing with the religious, psychological and political implications of all of that for Israel was left for David to sort out. Make no mistake Saul’s death was the result of sin, defeat, failure and yes, even betrayal, on his part.

from “Guinevere”
Alfred Tennyson

Shall I kill myself?
What help in that? I cannot kill my sin,
If soul be soul, nor can I kill my shame;
No, nor by living can I live it down.
The days will grow to weeks, the weeks to months,
The months will add themselves, and make the years,
The years will roll into the centuries,
And mine shall ever be a name of scorn.

Collect for the Day
O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; that, when we shall have served you in our generation, we may be gathered to our ancestors, having the testimony of a good conscience, in the communion of the Catholic Church, in the confidence of a certain faith, in the comfort of a religious and holy hope, in favor with you, our God, and in perfect charity with the world. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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