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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 4th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Sam 24:2.9-17): King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him, «Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the people, that I may know their number». Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered: in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service; in Judah, five hundred thousand. Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people, and said to the Lord: «I have sinned grievously in what I have done. But now, Lord, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish».

When David rose in the morning, the Lord had spoken to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying: «Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I offer you three alternatives; choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you’». Gad then went to David to inform him. He asked: «Do you want a three years’ famine to come upon your land, or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you, or to have a three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me». David answered Gad: «I am in very serious difficulty. Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful; but let me not fall by the hand of man». Thus David chose the pestilence.

Now it was the time of the wheat harvest when the plague broke out among the people. The Lord then sent a pestilence over Israel from morning until the time appointed, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died. But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord regretted the calamity and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people, «Enough now! Stay your hand». The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel who was striking the people, he said to the Lord: «It is I who have sinned; it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong. But these are sheep; what have they done? Punish me and my kindred».
Responsorial Psalm: 31
R/. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the Lord imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, «I confess my faults to the Lord», and you took away the guilt of my sin.

For this shall every faithful man pray to you in time of stress. Though deep waters overflow, they shall not reach him.

You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mk 6,1-6): Jesus re­turned to his own coun­try, and his dis­ciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, He began teaching in the synagogue, and most of those who heard him were as­tonished. They commen­ted, «How did this come to him? What kind of wisdom has been given to him that he also performs such miracles? Who is he but the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?». So they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, «Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives and in their own family». And he could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people by laying his hands on them. Jesus himself was astounded at their unbelief. Jesus then went around the villages teaching.

«How did this come to him? What kind of wisdom has been given to him that he also performs such miracles?»

Fr. Miquel MASATS i Roca
(Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel shows Jesus going to the Synagogue, in Nazareth, where He had grown up. The Sabbath is the day dedicated to our Lord when Jews get together to listen to God's Word. Every Sabbath, Jesus went to the synagogue to teach, not like the scribes and the Pharisees, but as one who had authority (cf. Mk 1:22).

Today, God also speaks to us through the Scriptures. At the synagogue, the Scriptures were read and, afterwards, the learned ones commented them and explained the sense of the message God wanted to transmit through them. The following thought is attributed to saint Augustine: «As we speak to God through prayer, God speaks to us through reading».

The fact that Jesus, the Son of God, is well known among his fellow citizens because of his work, offers us an unsuspected perspective for our ordinary life. Our professional activities are also a way for us to meet God and, therefore, a sanctified and sanctifying reality. Saint Josemaria Escrivà says: «Your human vocation is a part —and an important part— of your divine vocation. That is the reason why you must strive for holiness, giving a particular character to your human personality, a style to your life; contributing at the same time to the sanctification of others, your fellow men; sanctifying your work and your environment: the profession or job that fills your day, your home and family and the country where you were born and which you love».

The text of the Gospel ends with the words: «Jesus could work no miracles there (...). Jesus himself was astounded at their unbelief» (Mk 6:5-6). Today also our Lord demands more faith in Him to carry out things that overpower our human possibilities. Miracles show God's power and our need for daily dependence on God.