March 2, 2014
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 IS 49:14-15
Today’s Gospel quotes Jesus as he challenges us to quit worrying and to put all our trust and faith in God. He promises that God will always take care of us and all our needs.
If I were to get up one morning feeling great, and look out the window to see blue sky and sparkling sunshine, and hear birds singing and see beautiful flowers blooming in the garden, then I’m sure I could smile and say to myself, “ It’s a great day to be alive.” Today’s Gospel really brings joy to my heart because all is well, and God is certainly taking good care of me.
But if I were to hear this same Gospel the day after I just lost my job and I had to file for bankruptcy and I faced the pending foreclosure on my home, then I would feel that I was being mocked by the words of Jesus in the Gospel. Just look at the terrible condition of my life; God certainly isn’t taking care of my needs.
Doesn’t Jesus realize that my family and I can’t survive if we don’t have a roof over our heads, or have food to feed my children or have at least something to wear? How can I trust God when I’m being treated like this? Come on Jesus! Get real.
I hear myself yelling at Jesus, trying to convince him that he needs to face reality as I see it. I’m trying to clue him in to the realities of life, but he’s sticking to his story when he tells us that we can’t serve God and accumulated material possessions – things we depend on so heavily.
Maybe Jesus just meant his message for the poor people of Galilee that he was speaking to that day, and not people of the 21st century, like you and me.
Many of those who were listening to the Sermon on the Mount that day had only recently left everything in order to follow Jesus. They were as dependent on Jesus for their future well-being as the birds and the flowers are dependent on God
Aware of all their concerns, Jesus nevertheless challenged his followers to look beyond their very real worries, and trust in his promise of God’s care.
How incredible! How impractical! How naive Jesus is! Yet this man, this Son of God was speaking not only to the people 2,000 years ago, but to each one of us today. His words are just as timely on March 2, 2014 as they were then. Jesus is challenging us to be his faithful, trusting disciples.
Being a disciple involves a relationship, a friendship, and a commitment to an ideal or a cause. Many of us are already committed to one or several causes.
Perhaps you are a devout or even a fanatic follower of the Iowa Hawkeyes or the Chicago Cubs. You may be a disciple or follower of a political party, or a social activist against homelessness, poverty or abortion. Perhaps you are a dedicated champion for people who are mentally or physically challenged. You devote time, energy and financial help to these causes.
But the invitation to discipleship we are offered today is one of quiet, unassuming proportions. We are invited to accept the call Jesus is making, and follow him with trust, faith and friendship.
Through faith and trust in God’s love, Jesus’ followers (that’s you and me) become better able to face life’s challenges, one by one, to live each day as if it were our last on earth, to set aside yesterday’s regrets, and to accept tomorrow’s troubles when tomorrow becomes today.
Listen again to the words of Jesus: “Look at the birds in the sky; they don’t sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Won’t God provide as much for you?
Our challenge today is a question: Am I a person of faith? Let’s think about it.