Mar 29, 2023: 4th Sunday of Lent (A)

1st Reading – 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said, “There — anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

The books of Samuel were originally one book and actually form a continuation of the deuteronomic history of the people of Israel. It also marks a turning point in the history of God’s people, as Samuel is the last of the Hebrew Judges.

Under increasing pressure from the Philistines, Samuel struggles to keep the Israelites faithful to Yahweh. Defeats in battle and the failure of Samuel’s sons to follow his example convince the people that Israel needs a new kind of leadership; a king. Samuel thought this was wrong, but God told him “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” (See 1 Samuel 8:7-22).

Samuel then anointed Saul, who didn’t work out too well. God then instructed Samuel to anoint a new king, which is the story we hear today.

Like our gospel reading, this story is about seeing. Continue reading “Mar 29, 2023: 4th Sunday of Lent (A)”