Mt 6: 24-34
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
From Fear to Life
Let’s share a secret with one another (and I promise not to tell anyone else if you don’t): we don’t like to trust. We say we do, and maybe we want to, but push us and we become armadillos, ready to either extend our claws and fight our way out or roll up in a ball. “Letting things happen”, “trusting God” — these are more the material for bumper stickers or Bobby McFerrin songs than real life.
And it is true, birds can only live day to day, and yet they survive. And flowers can’t even move, poor things, yet they flourish. But it’s also naïve to say we have nothing to fear. Read a paper (or even just a couple tweets). And some of the scariest things are inevitable. As one old Jesuit I know used to whisper playfully: “None of us are getting out of here alive.”
Worry, though…it’s like fog rolling in. It makes even the familiar strange and scary. Lost in its clutches we lose track of the God who loves us, the one who sits beside us in our hardships and has given us this wondrous gift of life.
Sometimes worry is unavoidable. But Jesus’ words today remind us that all around us the little beauties of creation wait to be seen and savored by us again, and to draw us back from fear into life.
—Fr. Jim McDermott, S.J, a Wisconsin province Jesuit, is an accomplished professional screenwriter who lives at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles CA.
The Lord never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who tire of asking for his forgiveness. Let us never get tired. He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us. And let us also learn to be merciful with everyone.