Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Samuel 24:2.9-17; Mark 6:1-6)
Once when he was President, Ronald Reagan’s entourage brought bottled water from the United States to Mexico on a diplomatic mission. The Mexicans were insulted. They thought something like, “Could the President’s staff not trust us to supply our distinguished guests with safe drinking water?” Perhaps this anecdote illumines David’s offense against God in taking a census of his people. At first hearing we may ask, “Is it not prudent for a king to know how many troops he has to fight with and how many people he must protect?” Maybe, but Israel has always been God’s trusteeship. So, God perceives the census as a display of distrust in His providence and knows that David, of all people, realizes this.
Significantly, David recognizes his error and repents. Putting himself at God’s mercy and not human capriciousness shows that he does trust God more than any man or woman. Wisdom dictates that we, as well, make God our first and last refuge. Before we calculate how we are to meet the challenges we face, we should turn to God for assistance. Hopefully, we will beseech Him also on our last day saying, “Lord, have mercy.”