I shall not put forth my hands against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed
A reading from the first Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 24:2-20)
In those days: Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wild goats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe. And afterwards David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” So David persuaded his men with these words, and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave, and went upon his way. Afterwards David also arose, and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said to Saul, “why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your hurt’? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave; and some bade me kill you, but I spread you. I said, ‘I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ See, my father, see, the skirt of your robe in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me upon you; but my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you, and see to it, and plead my cause, and deliver me from your hand.” When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.”
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 57:2.3-4.6 and 11 (R. 2a)
R/. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, God, have mercy,
For in you my soul has taken refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
Till the storms of destruction pass by. R/.
I call to you, God the Most High,
To God who provides for me.
May he send from heaven and save me,
And put to shame those who assail me.
May God send his loving mercy and faithfulness. R/.
R/. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
May your glory shine on earth!
For your mercy reaches to the heavens,
And your truth to the skies. R/.
ALLELUIA 2 Corinthians 5:19
Alleluia. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Alleluia.
He called to him those whom he desired to be with him.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 3:13-19)
At that time: Jesus went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons: Simon whom he surnamed Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. Very difficult indeed and many people are not successful in their effort to obey that injunction. Yet, that was exactly what David did when God delivered Saul into his hands. He would easily have destroyed Saul once and for all but he recollected that the battle belongs to the Lord and spared Saul’s life. You know, later on in life, David would be in dire need of God’s forgiveness and compassion. God readily forgave him and spared his life. We are Jesus’ disciples, listed with the twelve in today’s gospel. We pray for the courage to be that kind and forgiving, especially since Jesus taught and showed us an even greater kindness. Lord show us your mercy and love! Amen