4th Week Wednesday - Feb 5th: Reflection & Liturgy

4th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 05-02-20
2 Sam 24:2, 9-17 / Mark 6:1-6

David numbers the people: David repented his lack of trust.
The great Philippine leader Carlos Romulo used to say that his people had an expression that covered a great multitude of needs and situations. They would simply say Bahala na, which means “Put your trust in God.” David showed a lack of “Bahala na,” or trust in God, in today’s reading. The purpose of counting the people was to see how many were available for military service. In biblical times, such a census reflected an inadequate trust in God. It showed a reliance on human resources for protection, rather than on God. Even Joab, David’s general, tried to dissuade him from taking the census. (2 Samuel 24:3) Later, David himself repented his lack of trust.
How is our own trust in God? “Trust in the Lord.
Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord.” Ps 27:14
If we had listened and reflected on the 1st reading, we might have asked this question: what is the problem with doing a census of the population? That is a logical thing to do so as to know the size of the population and especially the size of the army. Yet it was David himself who called for the census; it was a form of pride. Already in his time, Israel was the most powerful nation in the region. In counting the people, and especially the army, David wanted to show-off his might to other nations. But he forgot he was counting God's people, and God's people is not about numbers but rather their faith and trust in Him.

In a way, we could also see in the gospel how the people of Jesus' hometown "counted" Jesus and He fell short of their opinions, and hence, they did not accept His wisdom and abilities. We too, should not just count our blessings but also give thanks and praise the Lord at all times.

With grateful and thankful hearts, we will not be thinking about what we have done for the Lord but rather what the Lord has done for us.

Wednesday, 4th Week: Liturgy


In the mind of God’s people, God was their defender; by creating an army through conscription, David was as if usurping the power of God, taking upon himself what was properly the task of God himself.
A man or woman like us from down the street, whose parents we know, how dare he or she speak God’s word to us – if it is God’s word! Jesus, the town carpenter whom everyone knew, how could he work miracles and where did he get this strange message? The Church with all its faults and the priest who is not any better than we are, how dare they speak to us in the name of God? God speaks through ordinary people. God’s word and message are stronger than the weak messengers he sends to speak his prophetic word. The people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus. Do we accept those who speak out for what is right and good?

Opening Prayer
God, our Father without equal,
your Son, your living Word, came among us
as one of our own, our own flesh and blood.
Dispose us to welcome him always
and to listen to what he tells us,
also when his word upsets and disturbs us.
And give us too, the courage
to pass on his word to one another,
that it may liberate us all
and lead us to you as your one people.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Today we see how the Lord gets angry with David for conducting a census of his people that includes counting the number of able-bodied men who can serve as soldiers. We may ask, “What’s wrong with taking a census?” Nothing, in and of itself. God is opposed to this census because it reflects the belief that the strength of David’s kingdom is due to its own size, not the result of God’s favor. Human forces are not the reason for Israelite success. The Israelites triumph because God has strengthened his people. When they rely on their own strength, they meet defeat.
In today’s Gospel we see how Jesus’ contemporaries in his home region were unable to accept him. His family and his occupation were well known. Prophets are not found among hometown boys! But the truth is that many valuable insights into our character and conduct come from people who are close to us.
I have personal experience of this. On one occasion I received a valuable insight from some young seminarians who were part of my charge. They had to perform some ministry in a neighboring city. In granting them permission to travel, I sternly insisted that they be back in the seminary for evening prayer. On their way back home, running late, they saw an elderly man on the road who was struggling to change a tire. They passed him but got home on time. However, they felt that they had failed in a serious responsibility. They brought the case to my attention and in doing so taught me a very valuable lesson. Discipline is not the only value, nor, in this case, was it the principal one.

Points to Ponder
Relying on God’s help
Prophets in our lives
Being open to change

– That our Church may keep listening to the prophets among us, for the Spirit speaks through them, we pray:
– That God’s people may keep listening to the words Jesus speaks in our assemblies as a word spoken to each of us today, we pray:
– That in the silence of the voiceless, God’s people may hear the voice of the Lord crying out for justice and compassion, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
you ask of us to accept with faith
your word spoken by your messengers
and above all by your living Word, Jesus Christ.
Make us truly recognize and welcome
the humble coming of your Son
in these simple signs of bread and wine.
Let his word and that of his prophets
take root in us and change us
into a community in which prevail
the love, the justice and the forgiveness
of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord God, loving Father,
you let us share in your strength
through Jesus, your Son in our midst.
Let his word that we have heard
come true in our lives
and give us the courage to proclaim it
without false shame or fear
to anyone willing to listen.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.

We have heard Jesus: let his word not fall on deaf ears. And may we not keep it for ourselves, but pass it on as a challenge to create together a community in which justice and love rule with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.