Here is my homily for this weekend. God bless all!
8th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A
February 25/26, 2017
Isaiah 49: 14-15; 1Cor 4: 1-5; Mt 6: 24-34
Jesus tells us today not to worry about money, food, or clothing. These are very basic needs we all have, so he is asking us to not worry about the necessities of life. God knows how hard it is to not worry about these things. He knows how hard it is not to be anxious about life. He knows we live in a world that wants us to be anxious, indeed fearful, a world that wants us to believe that God doesn’t really exist and bad things are happening all the time, and we must, at all costs, be in control of our lives. We must be in control, the world says. These ideas produce anxiety and worry for us because we find out over and over again that we cannot control everything. So, Jesus puts before us choices. Will we trust God, or the world? Will we believe God exists and will provide for us what we really need, or will we not?
Our faith teaches us that God is in control and that he will provide us all necessary things out of his goodness, and that he never forgets us, never! As our first reading told us, his love for us is stronger than the natural love a mother has for her child.
When Jesus tells us to not worry, what he is saying, I believe, is we must rest in God. Rest in God! What does this mean?
God knows the antidote to chronic worry and anxiety is resting in the presence of someone who is stable, available, accepting, and reassuring. God knows the antidote to worry and anxiety is not numbing our anxiety with frantic activity, drugs, alcohol or pornography, or in building up our bank accounts. God knows the antidote is resting in him, in his presence.
Will we take the chance and start to do this in Lent? We will need to be convinced that it is impossible for God to do us harm It is impossible for God to harm us because God is love. God will not abandon us because he cannot forget us. God can only give what is good because he is perfect goodness. God is always holding us, but we cannot rest in life until we turn around and look at God and let him touch us.
Our task is to turn to him to find the rest we need. In Lenten language, that means we must be converted, give us our sins, turn back to him and away from things that only cause us worry.
God is patient with us in all this. He knows how hard it is to not worry. He knows it takes faith to rest in him, but he expects us to try. He won’t force us, but he expects us to do it.
Many of us don’t know how to rest. We don’t know how to fast from things that keep us from God. We are good at distracting ourselves. We are experts at numbing our worries with material pursuits and momentary pleasures. Lent can be a time for us to learn to rest again in God and fast from those things that only give us momentary pleasure or only numb our pain for awhile.
Here are some ways to rest in God this upcoming Lent:
Come to Mass every Sunday, and during the week if possible.
Come to Adoration and the Stations of the Cross every week.
Take about 10 minutes each day and be quiet and do nothing but be in God’s presence
Look at a crucifix for 5 minutes and say this, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Say a short prayer throughout the day. My favorite is, “God, help me!”
Jesus said that we cannot add a single moment to our lives by worrying, but we can rest eternally in his arms. He said we must first seek the kingdom of God and then all good things will be given to us.
Finally, having said all this, I want to address all of you who are facing very real and difficult life situations that understandably cause you great worry and anxiety, whether it is money problems, job loss, marital problems, health issues or whatever. Know this: God is with you in your pain and worry. He knows your struggle. He knows you cannot ignore what is going on. He knows your fears are real. He asks you though to trust in him, to turn to him over and over again. Your pain is real, but he shares that pain with you. He does not forget you.