Week 2: Tuesday

“The LORD said to Samuel: How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for from among his sons I have decided on a king.” (1 Samuel 16:1.)

Saint Gregory the Great comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“We have touched on these things as they pertain to the literal meaning; now let us see the election of our nobles as we look at the meaning beneath the literal one. When Samuel was told to fill the horn with oil, what else could it mean than this: he who is to be selected as a pastor in the holy church must not be someone clearly known as a transgressor but must be commended by wondrous praise as an example to others. The horn, you see, is the spear of an animal. But the authority and rebuke of even the highest bishop is nothing but his weapon. Indeed, they strike with their horn, whenever they lock horns with sinners as they issue their rebukes. They strike with their horn whenever they sharply confute sinners. The horn is filled with oil, then, whenever the loftiness of preachers does not have the harshness of threats but the allurements of grace. Or the horn is filled with oil when both the sublimity of the heights and the virtue of unction are given to a chosen pastor at the same time, that is, when he both ascends to a high degree, but the one who is taken into the heights is filled with the riches of merits. The priests were anointed with a full horn of oil, inasmuch as they arrived at the highest degree with a full possession of graces. When a fire is lit in a lamp of oil, the oil of the teacher is the love of the heart. A fire is lit in it, for the virtue and grace of the Holy Spirit burns in the richness of the mouth. Since a teacher ought to have the richness of great love, the king is said to have been anointed with a full horn of oil when he was ordered to be anointed. The fullness of the horn refers to the perseverance of the graces. For those who fail before they reach the end are not worthy to be anointed with a full horn of oil. ” (Six Books on 1 Kings)

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