6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Francis)
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord! [Jer. 17:7] My brothers and sisters in Christ, who can tell me what it means to “trust in the Lord?” Is your interpretation of “trusting in the Lord” the same as your neighbor’s interpretation? Is your neighbor’s interpretation the same as mine?
First of all, let us consider how common dictionaries define the word “trust?” They state that to “trust” is to have a firm belief in another’s honesty, to rely upon someone, to have a confident expectation, to hope, to care for something, to have something entrusted, to have confidence in one’s intention to repay or return what he borrowed. To trust someone is to believe in someone, to have faith in him and to hope in him.
So, I ask again, what it means to “trust in the Lord?” To understand what it means to trust in the Lord, I will use the example of a five year old child. The five year old child who completely trusts in his parents to provide for all of his childhood needs, does he not trust in his parents to provide love, shelter, clothing, education, food, medication, religious upbringing, values, security and all the other basic necessities that will ensure him the fullness of his physical and spiritual growth? Does the five year old say, “I will go and find my own place to stay,” or “I will go feed myself somewhere else?” No! He accepts with joy and thanksgiving all what his parents provide.
To trust in the Lord God is the same. It means that we as adults must accept with joy and thanksgiving all what God provides for our physical and spiritual needs according to the calling that we have received in life. It means acknowledging with joy and thanksgiving that the needs of a priest or a religious sister are different than those of a married couple. It means to acknowledge with joy and thanksgiving all things that the Lord God provides for each and every one of us according to our basic needs.
To trust in God means exactly that, “Trust in God!” It does not mean to “trust in one’s self.” [Rom. 1:21] To trust in one’s self is to break the First Commandment. To place more trust in oneself than in God means to mistrust God. Allow me to explain. When one is about to make a major decision in life such as planning a marriage, planning to buy a house or accepting a new employment, one should be spiritually disposed by praying to God for guidance. [Lk. 18:1] One should not allow his emotions, desires or pressure to rule over his faith and reason. For example, when planning to buy a house, one should always pray before doing so, asking the Lord if this is the right decision to make at this moment in time. Unless one feels absolutely sure in his heart that the Lord agrees with the decision, he should not purchase the house.
Nowadays, many do not have such trust in the Lord. In the spur of the moment, they want a house and they buy it. They overdo themselves, overspend, and do not pray about it. When all goes well, they brag about their good management. But when they face bankruptcy because they overdid it, they place the blame on God for not providing their needs. Many, when they are healthy, rich and wise, they do not need the Lord. But when the world comes crashing down on them, they sure know where to cry for help.
My brothers and sisters, God is not to blame for poor management. Nor is God to blame for self-reliance.
The same applies with the planning of a marriage. Before doing so, do all the couples pray to God for guidance and approval? Do they obey the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ who guides their hearts? Do they view the Sacrament of Marriage as being Sacred? Or are they more or less concerned with satisfying their fleshly desires and worldly need of loneliness?
Something must have gone wrong when there are so many divorces in the world. Is it not because few pray for Divine guidance? Obviously there is a lack of trust in God’s grace to work in them. Rather than trusting in the guidance of the Lord to persevere through the matrimonial trials, “flight at first fright” becomes the easy way out.
Regarding the education of children, how many parents realize that the teachers are the parents’ helpers? Why is it that so many parents condemn the teachers and defend their children when they know very well that their children are wrong? Do these parents trust the teachers? Do they trust in God to provide good teachers for their children? Or do they nurture self-trust and condemn anything that is not approved by themselves? Is this not breaking the First Commandment, placing oneself above God?
Why should we trust in God? It is because as God loved us first, He has trusted us first! All what we possess came from God! He trusted us with the care of the earth, the environment, all of His creations. He trusted parents with the souls of their children. During the Sacrament of Baptism, He trusted us with a new heart and a spirit. [Ezek. 11:19-20; 18:31; Jn. 3:3-7; 1 Jn. 4:7, 5:1, 4] He trusted us with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. [Ezek. 36:26-7] He trusted us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. [1 Cor. 12:4-10] As members of the Body of Christ, He trusted us with the Holy Catholic Church.
The Lord God trusted the spiritual health of the parishioners to the care of the ministers of the Word of God. He trusted orphans to some parents. He trusted the care of the sick and the elders to caregivers. He trusted the proper treatment and rehabilitation of prisoners to peace officers. He trusted employers with employees to ensure that they will be properly paid for their day’s work. Each has been trusted with an abundance of things in accordance with his calling.
What happens when this trust is broken? What happens when the rich ignore the poor or those who are filled refuse to share their food with the hungry? What happens when the famous have become too good for their peers, they rejecting their old friends because they are now viewed as being inferior? [Lk. 18:9] What happens to those who embrace this life by partying weekend after weekend, by mixing alcohol, drugs and sex as the way of life? Woe to them all for their way of life will condemn them all! Woe to them for they will have received their consolation. [Lk. 6:24] While mourning and weeping [Lk. 6:25] in eternal darkness, [Mt. 8:12] they will hunger for the loving presence of the Lord God.
Those who will be blessed will be the poor, the hungry, those who wept because of injustices in the world, those who were hated, excluded, reviled and defamed on account of the Son of Man. [Lk. 6:20-1] They are the ones who trusted in the Divine Justice of the Lord God. They are the ones who will receive their just rewards.
My brothers and sisters, the Lord God has trusted us with much. It is like in the Parable of the talents. [Mt. 25:14-30] The Lord gave us much and expects us to gain much more from what He has placed in our trust. If we take what the Lord has given us and abuse it, in the end, we will have nothing. If we take what has been given to us in trust and invest it in our spiritual growth, in shining love towards others, in caring for those in our trust, much more shall be given to us. [Mt. 25:21] This is the spiritual law of Divine justice.
This week, let us reflect upon what has been placed in our trust. Let us reflect upon our trust towards the Lord God. And let us reflect upon our trust towards others. For what we do to others, we do to Jesus. Let us pray for the grace of God to enlighten our minds so we can perceive our human weaknesses. Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, let us embrace a spiritual mind and correct any lack of trust we may have so as the five year old child, we may enjoy the fullness of life in all of our physical and spiritual needs. Then it shall be said regarding us, “Blessed are those who trusted in the Lord.” Amen.
Fr. A. Francis HGN