The Numbering

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for February 5th, 2014
Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Liturgical texts here

 

 

WHY would the Lord be angry with King David for taking a census? And yet we know that, as soon as he did, David “regretted having numbered the people”:

I have sinned greatly in doing this thing.

The Scriptures don’t tell us exactly why David’s census was wrong. It seems the purpose of it was to determine how many Israelites were eligible for war, such as when God ordered Moses to take a census of all the people of Israel. [1]cf. Num 1:2 But when we read the secondary account of this biblical story, we learn a surprising detail:

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. (1 Chron 21:1)

What gave Satan this foothold upon David? As we read on Monday this week in When Legion Comes, theologian Cardinal Jean Daniélou noted that idolatry can open the door to Satan:

As a result, the guardian angel is almost powerless over [Satan], just as over the nations. —The Angels and Their Missions, Jean Daniélou, S. J., p.71

Prior to the census, David won a war against the Ammonites who worshipped the god Milcom.

David took the crown of Milcom from the idol’s head. It was found to weigh a talent of gold, with precious stones on it; this crown David wore on his own head. (1 Chron 20;2)

Milcom was another name for Molech, who was the god of the Canaanites and Phoenicians to whom parents sacrificed their children. It was this idol’s crown that David placed upon his own head, an idol of death. Thus, the census now takes on a different context, that of David and the Israelites taste for war and bloodshed when God was not asking for it. Israel, it seemed, was no longer trusting in God, but in the sword to control their destiny.

What a warning this is for us today! This generation has bowed down at the feet of Molech and sacrificed their children, most especially in the form of birth control and abortion, in order to control the destinies of nations, peoples and individual lifestyles. Since 1980, 1.3 billion babies have been aborted worldwide. [2]cf. numberofabortions.com Our politicians and magistrates readily don the crown of Milcom in their efforts to “reduce the population” of the earth.

…they prefer to promote and impose by whatever means a massive programme of birth control. —JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 16

But now that programme extends to the living. Who is to be “reduced” today? The Gospel is a parody of the census that divides and categorizes people into clans and tribes. For Jesus is rejected based solely on his cultural and familial associations.

“Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Today, it is the “inconvenient” presence of others that offends our idolatrous sensibilities.

Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ —POPE FRANCIS, “State of the World” address, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 13th, 2014

It is precisely this disregard for life that John Paul II said is moving us “towards a form of totalitarianism.” [3]Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 18, 20 And totalitarian regimes always, always take a precise census of the people, in one form or another, in order to control them. Today, the ones who are behind these programs of control are the powerful banking and financiers of the world’s economies. [4]See, for example, this video: YouTube

We think of the great powers of the present day, of the anonymous financial interests which turn men into slaves, which are no longer human things, but are an anonymous power which men serve, by which men are tormented and even slaughtered. They are a destructive power, a power that menaces the world. —BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour, Vatican City, October 11,
2010

And so, the census is upon us again.

The Apocalypse speaks about God’s antagonist, the beast. This animal does not have a name, but a number. In [the horror of the concentration camps], they cancel faces and history, transforming man into a number, reducing him to a cog in an enormous machine. Man is no more than a function. In our days, we should not forget that they prefigured the destiny of a world that runs the risk of adopting the same structure of the concentration camps, if the universal law of the machine is accepted. The machines that have been constructed impose the same law. According to this logic, man must be interpreted by a computer and this is only possible if translated into numbers. The beast is a number and transforms into numbers. God, however, has a name and calls by name. He is a person and looks for the person. —Cardinal Ratzinger, (POPE BENEDICT XVI) Palermo, March 15th, 2000 (italics added)

How odd that, as I was writing this, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, Antonin Scalia, was reported to say that “internment camps”, such as the ones in WWII, will likely return again, since, “in times of war, the laws fall silent.” [5]washingtononeexaminer.com; Feb. 4, 2014 Indeed, Tradition says it is the “lawless one” who is the beast. [6]cf. 2 Thess 2:3

Today, we have opened the door to Legion through our worldliness, and Satan is inciting once again a census, the numbering of people in order to control.

It is not the beautiful globalization of unity of all Nations, each one with their own customs, instead it is the globalization of hegemonic uniformity, it is the single thought. And this sole thought is the fruit of worldliness. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, November 18th, 2013; Zenit

Let us pray and ask St. Agatha the martyr to intercede for us that we will remain steadfast in these days of temptation, that we will most especially not be numbered among those in today’s Gospel for whom…

He was amazed at their lack of faith.

For we are called by name, a name carved upon the palm of God’s hand that no stamp or brand can ever wipe out.

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… (Today’s Psalm, 32)

 

RELATED READING

  • The United Nations reports that “Fertility has declined worldwide to unprecedented levels since the 1970s.” Read Zenit’s report: “Too Few People”

 

 


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1. cf. Num 1:2
2. cf. numberofabortions.com
3. Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 18, 20
4. See, for example, this video: YouTube
5. washingtononeexaminer.com; Feb. 4, 2014
6. cf. 2 Thess 2:3
Posted in HOME, MASS READINGS.