Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow: A reflection on Matthew 6: 24-34


Has the world gone crazy?  Left vs. Right.  Governments vs. People.  Pro-life vs. Pro-choice.  Native Americans vs. Oil Companies.  ISIS vs. The West.  Son-in-law against mother-in-law…

WAIT!

Wrong Gospel.

There are many things to fix and our Church is a Church of action.  At the end of Mass, we are invited in words, more or less, to “Go in peace and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”  We offer gratitude for this mission: “Thanks be to God!”  You pick yourself up from the pew, walk down the aisle, grab a bulletin, say hi to Father, walk out the door and then…

Remember the Gospel.  It has great advice and guidance for times such as these.  Christ opens with a punch: “No one can serve two masters.”  You must first choose in which direction you will walk and there are only two paths.  You either walk towards or away from Jesus. Choose carefully for the first decision affects all the rest.

In this thought experiment, let’s choose Jesus.  He continues in the Gospel as though he knows our choice has been for him anyway:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or 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 in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
                                                                                               Matthew 6:25-27

These words of Jesus are often easier said than lived.  If we truly believe Jesus is who he says he is, however, then we must believe he will fulfill all he promised.  He is trustworthy.  We give up our worry so that we may place all our trust in him.

Having placed our trust in him, he gives us our task:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
                                                               Matthew 6:33

How do we bring about the kingdom?  It begins in our everyday lives; towards our family and friends, in our dedication and hard work in our employment, and in using the talents God has given us for the greater good.  There is nothing any article can explain or tell you.  It must be lived and reach its fulfillment in a relationship with him who has been found trustworthy.

My Catholic grade school principle, a religious sister, had a great phrase about things that weren’t our business: that’s not your cross to pick up.  Too frequently, we overburden ourselves with worries we cannot do anything about.  When pride drives us we wind up doing more harm than good.  Discerning how to advance the kingdom often means discerning when to step back and not act.  Let Jesus, he who has been found trustworthy and who knows and loves you so well, select your cross.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
                                            Matthew 6:34

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Kellen O’Grady is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings, Minnesota.  He will complete his Masters degree in Catholic Studies in May 2017 and chairs the Association of Liturgical Ministers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  He has a reputation for enjoying the finer things in life from hipster cocktails to dance and yoga.

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