Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

(II Samuel 24:2.9-17; Mark 6:1-6)

Parents today want their children to have cell phones so that they may have peace of mind. But their children may use the phones to get into all kinds of mischief. Cell phones, it might be said, are a mixed blessing with a downside as well as obvious benefits. The first reading today will present another innovation with a similar hidden disadvantage.

David’s census will give him a better understanding of his people. At least it will tell him who lives where so that he might tax them more equitably. But it will also tempt the king to count on numbers of deployable soldiers rather than turning to God for help when war threatens. For this reason God is punishing him. Faith in God is similarly the issue in the gospel. The people refuse to repent and believe as Jesus constantly teaches. Rather, they excuse themselves from accepting Jesus as God’s harbinger because they know where he comes from.

We often ask ourselves where faith in God ends and reliance on self, others, and objects begins. An old adage tells us: “Work as if everything depended on yourself, and pray as if everything depended upon God.” But this too seems somewhat ego laden. Yes, let us pray as if all depended upon God but let us work as God’s beloved children. We should recognize that God wants us to do our best without causing injury to ourselves and others.