Sunday Vigil

Deel Op

Prayer for the unity of Christians. Particular memory of the Churches and ecclesial communities (Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal and Evangelic).


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Saul was dead and David, returning after his victory over the Amalekites, had been at Ziklag for two days. On the third day, a man arrived from Saul's camp with his clothes torn and earth on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. David asked him, 'Where have you come from?' 'I have escaped from the Israelite camp,' he said. David said, 'What has happened? Tell me.' He replied, 'The people fled from the battle, and many of them have fallen and are dead. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead too.' David then took hold of his clothes and tore them, and all the men with him did the same. They mourned and wept and fasted until the evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, for the people of Yahweh and for the House of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. David sang the following lament over Saul and his son Jonathan Does the splendour of Israel lie dead on your heights? How did the heroes fall? Saul and Jonathan, beloved and handsome, were divided neither in life, nor in death. Swifter than eagles were they, stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul who gave you scarlet and fine linen to wear, who pinned golden jewellery on your dresses! How did the heroes fall in the thick of the battle? Jonathan, by your dying I too am stricken, I am desolate for you, Jonathan my brother. Very dear you were to me, your love more wonderful to me than the love of a woman. How did the heroes fall and the weapons of war succumb!

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The second book of Samuel begins with the story of Saul's death caused by an Amalekite who appeared not to be troubled by what he had done. It was as though what had happened was like any other event. David, on hearing what happened, is indignant both at the death of Saul and Jonathan and at the Amalekite because he was "not afraid to lift [his] hand to destroy the Lord's anointed." David orders his death. In boasting that he had killed Saul, the Amalekite was boasting of very grave sacrilege against the holiness of God who had chosen Saul as "anointed of Israel." With such an act, David seems oriented toward uprooting a practice that was beginning to become commonplace in the formation of the young monarchy of Israel, namely, to kill a weak king in order to curry favour with his successor (see 4:5-12). With Jesus, relationships among people will be regulated in a radically different way: love and not revenge should reign among men and women. Only in this perspective - which requires a deep change of heart - violence will be hit at its root. Forgiveness will uproot revenge. David wants his desperate lament for the death of Saul and Jonathan remain etched in the memory of the "children of Judah." "Why are the mighty fallen?" David asks three times. David's question urges all to reflect on the true cause of the evil that hit the people. The answer is implicit: the Lord has distanced himself from Israel leaving them in the hands of the enemies. In truth, it was Saul who distanced himself from the Lord, trusting in the words of a necromancer of Endor. Saul's guilt affected the entire people of Israel. Sin is never without consequences for the entire community. We are bound to each other, in good and in evil. Yet David honours Saul as the king of Israel and he acknowledges his divine anointment. Saul's sin does not erase God's love. David's lament for Jonathan expresses an extraordinary love. David exalts him as a friend, but also as the faithful man who shared in the same sad fate as his father. This intertwining of pain foretells of the bond of fellowship born not of flesh or blood but of adherence to the Gospel, the friendship that leads to giving one's life for one's friends.