Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Sam24,2,9-17; Resp. Psalm: Ps32,1-2,5-7; Gosp. Accl.: Jn10,27; Gospel: Mk6,1-6
To stay focused on what is important and turn our attention to the Lord rather than to ourselves is one of the most daunting tasks of our relationship with God. When we take our eyes off, we get distracted and mistakes follow. When we are not focused on Him, we regress into self adulation and self glorification. We forget where we were, where we came from, who we were before God came and lifted us up.
Many times in his life, despite the fact that he was a deep lover of Yahweh, King David lost focus at some moments in his life. Such a loss of focus led him to terrible mistakes and grave sins. One of such loss of focus is the one we see in today's first reading. David ordered a census of the people, to know the number of men who could be called upon to carry the sword in a war situation.
In an ordinary situation, the statistics David asked for would have been adjudged commendable for the purpose of planning. But with Yahweh's special relationship with Israel, this was unthinkable. This is because doing this was tantamount to relying on human strength and power. David wanted to know who could be drafted as soldiers for the army, forgetting that no war had ever been won by their own power and might but by the power of Yahweh.
For this grave sin, the nation was punished with pestilence for three days. David disregarded the power of God. He mistakenly failed to acknowledge his total dependence on His might. He paid dearly for it. The people of our Lord's hometown, that is, the place where He grew up, Nazareth, failed to acknowledge the power of God coming from Him.
They disparagingly questioned the identity of Jesus, source of His extraordinary powers and authority on the basis of the fact that they knew His parents and family and in this wise, believing that He was not different from them. They belittled Him by referring to His occupation as a craftsman. They questioned the origin of the wisdom with which He spoke. Because they knew His mother and brothers and sisters, they believed He was just ordinary like them.
Our Lord's response to all these disparaging remarks was very apt. He told them that the only place where a prophet was without honour was in the prophet's own place, country, people and house. Because of this unbelief and total lack of openness to the power of God, our Lord could do no mighty works there. He only healed a few sick people. "And He marvelled because of their unbelief."
The lack of faith of the people of Nazareth in today's gospel contrasted sharply with the deep and trusting faith of the woman with the flow of blood and of Jairus that we saw in yesterday's gospel passage. This lack of total trust and reliance on one's wisdom were the causes of David's mistake in today's first reading. The same problems made the people of our Lord's town to lose some of the greatest opportunities they were gifted with: true experience of the manifestation of the power of God.
We should be wiser. Let us strive everyday to stay focused on the Lord. Let us keep away all distractions. Let us believe in His power. St. John Bosco believed in the power and providence of God. He taught his youths the value of dedicating their lives totally to God. Through his own example and deep commitment to their affairs, youths were taken off the streets and brought to Christ. May St. John Bosco intercede for us.
Let us pray: "O God, who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco as a father and teacher of the young, grant, we pray, that, aflame with the same fire of love, we may seek out souls and serve you alone." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.