A reading from the prophecy of Jeremiah
(Chapter 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23)
Samuel, who lived more than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, was an important person in the history of Israel. He has been called the last of the judges and the first of the prophets. He had secretly anointed Saul as king of Israel, but Saul turned out to be wrong for the role. When the incident we read about today occurred, Israel was at war with the Philistines, but Saul was obsessed with hunting down his son-in-law David, whom he feared as a rival for the throne. While Saul was asleep, David snuck into his camp and could have killed him. Instead, he took Saul’s spear back to his own camp and showed it to his men. He told them that he did not kill Saul who was trying to kill him: “Today, though the Lord delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the Lord’s anointed.” Later, of course, David became the greatest of all the kings of Israel with the blessings of God.
“The Lord is kind and merciful.” This was an important concept for the Jewish people, because the gods worshiped by their contemporaries were anything but “kind and merciful.” It’s an important concept for us, too, because many of our contemporaries worship false gods—power, prestige, money—that also are neither kind nor merciful.