8th Sunday OTA

Is 49:14-15; I Cor 4:1-5; Mt 6:24-34

Two business executives meet for lunch. Gene asks Ed: “How’s your health?” Ed said, “I feel great! My ulcers are gone. I feel great!” Gene says, “How did that happen? Ed says, “Well, you know my doctor told me my ulcers were caused from worrying. So, I hired myself a professional worrier. Whenever something worrisome comes up, I turn it over to him, and he does all my worrying for me!” Gene says, “Wow, I’d like to hire someone like that! How much does he charge?” Ed says, “One hundred thousand dollars!” Gene asked, “How in the world can you afford $100,000? Ed says, “I don’t know. I let him worry about that!”

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

Today’s first reading is one of the most touching expressions of God’s love in the Bible. Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord God asks the rhetorical question: “Can a mother forget her infant?” and gives His solemn pledge “I will never forget you!” The Lord God 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 (Ps 62) also invites us to hope and rest in the strength and providence of a loving God.

Last Sunday we reflected together; To be with God forever in the Kingdom of God is our final destiny but to reach there we need to choose the path of holiness of God in our daily lives, “Be holy for I the Lord is holy”. In today’s gospel, as we continue listening to the sermon on the Mount, Jesus once again reminds us that entering the kingdom of heaven is more important than everything else in our lives. In a variety of ways this theme runs all through the sermon on the mount. In each part of the Sermon, Jesus tells us somethings we need to know in order to enter into the heavenly kingdom. Today’s passage focuses on our everyday needs and worries.

“No one can serve two master”. Our “master” is whatever governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of our heart and the values we choose to live by. Love of money and possessions, the power of position and prestige, the glamour of wealth and fame, or the driving force of unruly passions and addictions can become our master and rule our lives.

“Mammon,” in today’s Gospel passage, stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.” But man’s ultimate goal and Master is God and not material possessions. We cannot serve both at the same time.

Poor people worry that they have no 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.

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 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given you besides,” (v. 33). Mother Teresa of Calcutta has many reasons to worry about the resources for her charitable work all over the world and about the sisters needed to staff hundreds of her centers. Yet her trust in God has never let her down. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph had many reasons to worry but they put their trust in God when they went to Bethlehem or escaped to Egypt. St. Joseph was there as a carpenter who could provide in the family’s needs.

If we live by the values of God’s kingdom and trust in Him, we have no fear because the people we have loved will be glad to take care of us in our old age.

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