Week 2: Saturday

“How can the warriors have fallen in the thick of battle! Jonathan — slain upon your heights!” (2 Samuel 1:25.)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“I will now cite from the Scriptures a wonderful instance of friendship. Jonathan, the son of Saul, loved David, and his soul was so knit to him that David in mourning over him says, “Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. You were wounded fatally.” What then? Did Jonathan envy David? Not at all, though he had great reason. Why? Because, by the events he perceived that the kingdom would pass from himself to him, yet he felt nothing of the kind. He did not say, “This one is depriving me of my paternal kingdom,” but he favored David obtaining the sovereignty; and he didn’t spare his father for the sake of his friend. Yet let not any one think him a parricide, for he did not injure his father but restrained Saul’s unjust attempts. He rather spared than injured him. He did not permit Saul to proceed to an unjust murder. He was many times willing even to die for his friend, and far from accusing David, he restrained even his father’s accusation. Instead of envying, Jonathan joined in obtaining the kingdom for him. Why do I speak of wealth? He even sacrificed his own life for David. For the sake of his friend, he did not even stand in awe of his father, since his father entertained unjust designs, but his conscience was free from all such [things]. Thus justice was conjoined with friendship.

Such then was Jonathan. Let us now consider David. He had no opportunity of returning the favor, for his benefactor was taken away before the reign of David and slain before he whom Jonathan had served came to his kingdom. What then? As far as it was allowed him and left in his power, let us see how that righteous man manifested his friendship. “Very pleasant,” he says, “have you been to me, Jonathan; you were wounded fatally.” Is this all? This indeed was no slight tribute, but he also frequently rescued from danger his son and his grandson, remembrance of the kindness of the father, and he continued to support and protect his children, as he would have done those of his own son. Such friendship I would wish all to entertain both toward the living and the dead.” (Homilies on 2 Timothy, 7.)

Almighty ever-living God,
Who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of Your people
and bestow Your peace on our times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen