8th Sunday OTA

ISA 49: 14-15          1 COR 4: 1-5                        MT 6: 24-34

There are only two things in life to worry about: Whether you are well or whether you are sick. If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about: Whether you are going to get well or whether you are going to die. If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you die, there are only two things to worry about: Whether you are going to go to heaven or whether you are going to go to hell. If you go to heaven, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends, that you won’t have time to worry! So, Why Worry??

Today’s first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, begins with the Lord God’s rhetorical question “Can a mother forget her infant?” and His solemn pledge, “Even should she forget, I will never forget you!” This is one of the most touching expressions of God’s love in the Bible. Through the prophet, God assures Israel of His unfailing love when the people of Israel cry out in despair, believing that they have been forgotten by God. The Prophet Hosea also speaks about a loving God Who holds Israel to his cheek and teaches Ephraim to walk (Hosea 11: 3-4).  Isaiah reminds Israel that even the best of human love is only a shadow of God’s eternal, life-giving love for his people. Today’s responsorial psalm also invites us to hope and rest in the strength and providence of a loving God.

Today’s readings give us an invitation to avoid unnecessary worries by putting our trust in the love and providence of a merciful God, and then living each day’s life as it comes, doing His will and realizing His presence within us and others.

Between 20 and 30 percent of all Americans will live today under significant stress. Thirteen million will worry intensely for at least 90 minutes. It may be about our marriages, children, jobs, mortgages, health, grades, friends or a host of other issues. Poor people worry that they don’t have any money, and rich people worry that they don’t have enough money. Sick people worry about their premature death, and healthy people worry about getting sick. Some people worry about their past blunders, and others worry about their future. Everyone one, it seems, worries about something all the time. The tragedy of most of our lives is that we worry so much about tomorrow that we never claim the resources God has for our living today.

Hence, Jesus gives us some reasons why we should not worry.  1) Worry is a pagan or an irreligious attitude of those who don’t believe in a loving and providing God. 2) In nature, other creatures, like birds, work hard for their daily food, but they don’t worry about tomorrows. 3) Worry is useless because we cannot increase even an inch of height by days of worrying. 4) Worry is injurious to the health because it causes physical and mental problems and illnesses. 4) Worry robs us of faith and confidence in God’s help, and it saps our energy for doing good. 5) Worry takes all the joy from life and wears out our mind and body.

Jesus exhorts us to do our daily tasks serenely and not to worry uselessly about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow.

Here, Jesus is not advocating a shiftless, reckless, thoughtless attitude to life. Rather, he is forbidding a care-worn, worried fear, which takes the joy out of life. But he wants us to make good use of our human resourcefulness and to plan our lives in a responsible manner. Jesus also teaches that we should strive first for the kingdom of God in our life, for God to rule our life, and then all these things shall be given us. What is important is to live well today, doing God’s will and realizing God’s presence with us, within us and within every one we meet.

We need to avoid worry: a) By trusting in the providing care of a loving God. b) By acquiring the art of living one day at a time in God’s presence. c) By seeking God’s kingdom, doing His will every day and living a righteous life, serving others as best as we can.

“One day at a time, sweet Jesus.
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus,
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord, help me today, show me the way
To trust you one day at a time.” (Country poet Marijohn Wilkin) L/11