Today's liturgy sings the divine mercy towards men. Like Jesus "who came to call not the righteous but the sinners", the Holy Ghost, who continues Christ's action in the hearts, comes to establish the reign of God in sinful souls. This is what the Church proclaims in the breviary and the missal.
The readings in the breviary are devoted to the history of Saul. After the death of Heli, the Israelites had submitted to Samuel as to a new Moses. But when Samuel grew old the people asked him to have a king. In the tribe of Benjamin there lived a man named Cis who had a son named Saul. No child of Israel equaled him in beauty and he surpassed them all by one head. And when his father's donkeys went astray, Saul went to seek them. And he came to the land of Ramah, where Samuel dwelt. He said, "The man of God will tell me where I will find them. While he was in the presence of Samuel, God said to Samuel, "This is the man I have chosen to reign over my people.
Samuel said to Saul, "The donkeys that you lost three days ago have been found. The next day Samuel took his horn of oil, and poured it over Saul's head, and kissed him, saying, "The Lord has anointed you as a ruler over his inheritance, and you will deliver his people from the hands of his enemies who are around him. Saul was anointed only with a small vessel of oil," said Gregory, "because in the end he was to be reproved. This vase indeed contained little oil, and Saul received little, receiving spiritual grace and then rejecting it "(Matins). In everything," he adds elsewhere, "Saul points to the superb and the obstinate.
S. Gregory says that Saul, who was sent by his father "to seek lost donkeys, is a figure of Jesus who was sent by his Father to seek the souls that were lost. "The enemies are all around, in circuitu, he continues, so Blessed Peter says: "Your adversary, the devil, is prowling (circuitu) around you". And just as Saul was anointed king to deliver his people from the enemies who besieged him, so Christ, the Anointed One par excellence, came to deliver us from the demons who sought to lose us. We understand from this point on the choice of the Gospel and the Epistle of this Mass.
The Gospel shows us the lost sheep and the Good Shepherd who seeks it, puts it on his shoulders and brings it back to the fold. It is one of the oldest representations of Our Lord in Christian iconography. It is already found in the catacombs. The Epistle in turn exposes the dangers to which men are exposed, which this lost sheep represents. Watch out, for the devil, like a roaring lion, is looking for a prey to devour. Resist him by being strong in your faith.
Throw all your solicitude into God, for he himself takes care of you (Ep.), (The lessons and answers of the 1st Night speak simultaneously of the story of Saul and of God who delivers David from the claws of the lion.), He will protect you from the attacks of your enemies (Grad.) he who is the protector of those who hope in him (Or.) and who never forsakes those who seek him (Off.).
Remembering the fate of Saul who, at first small in his eyes, then boasted of his royal dignity, disobeyed God and did not want to acknowledge his wrongs, "let us humble ourselves before God" (Ep.) and say to him: "O my God, see my misery and have mercy on me; I trust in you, do not let me be confounded (Intr. ); and since without you nothing is solid, nothing is holy, let us use temporal goods in such a way that we do not lose eternal goods (Or.), give us therefore, in the midst of temptations, an unshakeable stability" (Ep.).