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 create all kinds of disturbing mischief. The parents will sooner or later admit that a child having a personal phone is a mixed blessing. 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. 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 in Jesus as his words and deeds warrant. Rather, they excuse themselves from accepting Jesus as God’s harbinger because they know where he grew up.
We often ask ourselves where faith in God ends and reliance on self begins. An adage says: “Work as if everything depended on yourself, and pray as if everything depended upon God.” But this too seems ego laden. Yes, let us pray as if all depended upon God, but let us work as God’s beloved children. We are wise to recognize that God wants everyone to prosper in justice.