I am sure that David’s sin in the first reading may not be something that we readily understand. Census taking is a regular part of our lives. As a matter of fact, we find ourselves in the middle of just such a census at this very time. However, census taking was something that God had forbidden among his chosen people. Only God was supposed to know how many people there were among the tribes of Israel.
Even more confounding might be the reaction of the Jewish people in the synagogue of Nazareth. Jesus had grown up among them. Their reaction to him is typical of someone who bases their opinion of another upon their knowledge of the past. Jesus was the son of a carpenter, a former neighbor of theirs. They were asking how Jesus could be anything special. The Gospel tells us that Jesus was amazed by their lack of faith. Just yesterday we heard two examples of people who placed their faith in Jesus and were healed because of their faith. Few of the people in Nazareth would ever witness the extent of this power because of their lack of faith.
Today we celebrate one of the virgin martyrs whose name is recorded in Eucharistic Prayer I. St. Agatha’s story is one of those accounts that causes us to wonder at how such a young girl could be so strong in the face of great torment. A powerful man, one used to getting his way, would not accept her rejection of his suit. He had her imprisoned and tortured. She remained steadfast in the face of great torment. Finally, an earthquake destroyed the prison in which she was held, and her captors fled the scene in fear. She died a peaceful death sometime afterwards. Though her death was not directly caused by her torture, she is still regarded by the Church as a virgin martyr.
As we celebrate the Eucharist today, let us pray for faith like that of Agatha so that Jesus can wield his power in our lives.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator