“The Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed.”
A reading from the first Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 26:2.7-9.12-13.22-23)
In those days: Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. So David and Abishai went to the army by night; and there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him. Then said Abishai to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand this day; now therefore let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.” But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can put forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head; and they went away. No man saw it, or knew it, nor did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them. Then David went over to the other side, and stood afar off on the top of the mountain, with a great space between them. And David said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed.”
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10, 12-13 (R/. 8a)
R/. The Lord is compassionate and gracious
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all within me, his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and never forget all his benefits. R/.
It is the Lord who forgives all your sins,
who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with mercy and compassion. R/.
R/. The Lord is compassionate and gracious.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our faults. R/.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far from us does he remove our transgressions.
As a father has compassion on his children,
the Lord’s compassion is on those who fear him. R/.
“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:45-49)
Brethren: “The first man Adam became a living soul”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
The word of the Lord
ALLELUIA John 13:34
Alleluia. A new commandment I give to you, says the Lord, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. Alleluia
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 6:27-38)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
The Gospel of the Lord
One cannot but wonder at the life of David, ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (Act 13:22). Despite his misdeeds, David is a man who fears the Lord, has compassion, and respects ‘the Lord’s anointed’. Definitely, Saul is an enemy and David gets the opportunity to ‘nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear’, but does not. Yes, David sees in Saul not just one bearing the images of the earthly one, but more, one bearing the image of the Heavenly one, because he is the Lord’s anointed’. He likewise believe that, since God is always merciful to us, who are we not to show mercy to others? Surely whatever we sow we will reap; if we sow mercy, we will also reap mercy, for the scripture says, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy’. The golden rule is placed before us: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’. The Lord calls us to love even our enemies for he died out of love for us while we were still enemies; he calls us to make ourselves the neighbours of those farthest away and to love children and the poor as Christ himself (CCC 1825), we need to be men and women after God’s heart by our readiness to show mercy to our enemies always and by not seeking their destruction.