Week 4: Wednesday

“Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people. David said to the LORD: “I have sinned grievously in what I have done. Take away, LORD, your servant’s guilt, for I have acted very foolishly.” (2 Samuel 24:10.)

Saint Gregory the Great comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“The characters, then, of rulers are so assigned according to the merits of their subjects, that frequently they who seem to be good are soon changed by the acceptance of power. As holy Scripture observed of the same Saul that he changed his heart with his dignity. Whence it is written, “When you were little in your own eyes, I made you the head of the tribes of Israel.” The conduct of rulers is so ordered with reference to the characters of their subjects that frequently the conduct of even a truly good shepherd becomes sinful as a result of the wickedness of his flock. For that prophet David, who had been praised by the witness of God himself, who had been made acquainted with heavenly mysteries, being puffed up by the swelling of sudden pride, sinned in numbering the people. And yet, though David sinned, the people endured the punishment. Why was this? Because in truth the hearts of rulers are disposed according to the merits of their people. But the righteous judge reproved the fault of the sinner by the punishment of those very persons on whose account he sinned. But because he was not exempt from guilt, as displaying pride of his own free will, he himself endured also the punishment of his sin. For that furious wrath which struck the people in their bodies prostrated the ruler of the people by the pain of his inmost heart. But it is certain that the merits of rulers and people are so mutually connected that frequently the conduct of the people is made worse from the fault of their pastors and the conduct of pastors is changed according to the merits of their people.” (Morals on the Book of Job, 25.)

Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honor you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen