Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest
(II Samuel 24:2.9-17; Mark 6:1-6)
Today’s first reading should make us question the wisdom of using only Scripture to judge moral acts. It indicates that David committed a terrible sin by taking a census of his people. The United States and perhaps most governments of the world take such a census every ten years. Do they thereby commit public sins?
By no means! It is necessary that a government have up-to-date knowledge of its people so that it might serve them better. However, David’s action points to a deep shortcoming. His hidden reason for the census is that he wants to know how many troops he can count on. In this way he does not have to depend on God. But God has been at his side in battle since the day he slew Goliath. Now he wants to go out alone as it were.
Although trust in God in any endeavor includes one’s making preparations, there is a difference between the two. When we trust in God, we do not violate any of His precepts nor do we presuppose accomplishment of our goal. Rather we work diligently to assure success, pray that it is God’s will, and conform ourselves to His Providence.