Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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The week of prayer for the unity of Christians starts. Particular memory of the Catholic Church.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Samuel 16,1-13

Yahweh said to Samuel, 'How much longer do you mean to go on mourning over Saul, now that I myself have rejected him as ruler of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have found myself a king from among his sons.' Samuel replied, 'How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.' Yahweh then said, 'Take a heifer with you and say, "I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh." Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I shall reveal to you what you must do; and you will anoint for me the one I indicate to you.' Samuel did what Yahweh ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, 'Seer, is your coming favourable for us,' 'Yes,' he replied. 'I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.' He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, he looked at Eliab and thought, 'This must be Yahweh's anointed now before him,' but Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.' Jesse then called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, 'Yahweh has not chosen this one either.' Jesse then presented Shammah, but Samuel said, 'Yahweh has not chosen this one either.' Jesse thus presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, 'Yahweh has not chosen these.' He then asked Jesse, 'Are these all the sons you have?' Jesse replied, 'There is still one left, the youngest; he is looking after the sheep.' Samuel then said to Jesse, 'Send for him, for we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.' Jesse had him sent for; he had ruddy cheeks, with fine eyes and an attractive appearance. Yahweh said, 'Get up and anoint him: he is the one!' At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him, surrounded by his brothers; and the spirit of Yahweh seized on David from that day onwards. Samuel, for his part, set off and went to Ramah.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Samuel needs to go to an unfamiliar territory because there the Lord recognized a new king: "I have provided for myself a king among his sons." Samuel recognizes the risky nature of the business and objects: "If Saul hears of it, he will kill me." But the Lord suggests a way to get around it: go to Bethlehem. Once in town, the inhabitants are afraid. They who know well who Samuel is and think he could bring trouble to the city. After calming them down, Samuel offers a sacrifice and meets Jesse who lines up his sons before the prophet. Only the prophet knows the reason for the line-up. Jesse and the elders do not know that they are witnesses to a decisive event in the life of Israel. Eliab, the first of Jesse's sons, is first and Samuel is impressed by his features him handsome; but the Lord, who speaks directly to the prophet, warns him: mortals "look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." This is the principle that guides the Lord and leads to the choice of the last son Jesse, David, the youngest. His father does not even bother to present him to the prophet as he was not considered at all. And yet, God's eyes had rested on him. Samuel asks that the boy be called and orders that no one will dine until the eighth son appears. The Gospel scene of Jesus calling a child in the midst of the disciples and hugging him comes to mind. This is God's action. The young David is the one the Lord chose to reign over Israel. The Lord and Samuel are now bound to this young boy who would come to reign over Israel. The anointing makes him God's envoy. This is exactly what happens to all Christians anointed at Baptism: their greatness lies not in their stature nor wisdom, but only in God's predilection and love. The Lord, who anoints his children with the Holy Spirit, works great wonders through them.