Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr (Memorial)
The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you." Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" He said, "Peaceably! I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is now before the Lord." But the Lord sid to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen any of these." Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; for this is the one." Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
Of old you spoke in a vision.
To your friends the prophets you said:
'I have set the crown on a warrior,
I have exalted one chosen from the people. (R./)
'I have found David my servant
and with my holy oil anointed him.
My hand shall always be with him
and my arm shall make him strong. (R./)
'He will say to me: "You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me."
And I will make him my first-born,
the highest of the kings of the earth.' (R./)
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the Bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions." Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for human beings, and not humans for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."
Scripture alerts us to the God of surprises. Contrary to Samuel's first estimate, it was not David's older, stronger brothers that God chose to become king in place of Saul. It was the youngest of the seven brothers, because of some special traits that would make him fit for kingship. He was courageous and responsible in caring for his father's flocks; those qualities would also make him a servant-leader for God's people. For "the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
The value of enhancing the lives of others is clearly echoed in the teaching of pope Francis. Do I put myself at the service of others, seeking to serve them in the ways that people need today, if they are to hear the Gospel? Do I appreciate the potential in other people, and my own, despite my limitations? Am I ministering life, appreciative of others rather than judgmental? How well do I live by the principle that "The Sabbath was made for man"? We need to ask ourselves, are we ministering life?
Jesus teaches that the Sabbath is meant to enhance life. The Jewish Sabbath was, and still is, the holiest day of the week. For the Pharisees, who sought detailes moral rules for all aspects of life, picking ears of corn and crushing them to eat them constituted work and was forbidden on the Sabbath. But Jesus held that it was perfectly alright to satisfy one's hunger on the Sabbath, especially for his disciples, who were never sure of their food from day to day.
Jewish Sabbath traditions were not not an absolute guide to right and wrong. Rather, Jesus calls himself the Lord of the Sabbath. For him, anything that serves the needs of others is allowable on the Sabbath. Sunday is not so much the day of total rest as the day we keep free to do God's work, responding to the needs of others and the guidance of our own common sense.