8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Today’s readings give us an invitation to avoid unnecessary worries by putting our trust in the love and providential care of a loving and merciful God, and by living each day’s life as it comes, doing His will and realizing His presence within us, within others and in all events of our lives.
Charlie Chaplin was in a meeting. When he was invited to deliver his speech, first he cracked a good joke. All laughed heartily. Then he began to repeat the same joke. This time a few, out of courtesy, laughed and the others remained silent. Once again for the third time, he said the same joke. Now, nobody laughed. Now Chaplin looked at the audience & said, “If you cannot laugh for the same joke again and again, why to worry about or cry for the same incident again and again?”
All of us do worry in our lives. For many of us, worry is part and parcel of our lives. Various factors such as physical diseases, economic ups and downs, and relational problems make us worry. Even though we know that worry does not solve our problems, that it does not serve its purpose, but instead that it creates more problems, still it is difficult for many of us not to worry. Today’s readings show us the way to overcome this deep-rooted human problem of worry. Jesus takes this issue of worry to a much deeper level in today’s gospel. Quite often, we think that the reasons for our worry lie in the external world – such as lack of money, material and marital problems, physical ailments etc.
Today’s first reading is one of the most touching expressions of God’s love in the Bible. Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord God asks the rhetorical question: “Can a mother forget her infant?” and gives His solemn pledge “I will never forget you!” The Lord God reminds Israel that even the best of human love is only a shadow of God’s eternal, life-giving love for His people. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 62) also invites us to hope and rest in the strength and providence of a loving God. In the second reading, St. Paul instructs the Corinthians that instead of worrying about who baptized them and judging him or other preachers, they are to bear witness to Christ and his Gospel by their lives.
Jesus in today’s Gospel points out that the cause of worry is not merely external, rather it is more internal. It is the feeling of insecurity that is the sole reason for our worry. In some way or the other, all of us suffer from feeling of insecurity. For example, many of us quite often lament that we are not loved enough, that we are not cared for enough, that we are not given sufficient attention etc.. These are all nothing but external symptoms of internal feeling of insecurity.
Unless and until this feeling of insecurity is removed from us, we cannot keep worry away from our lives. Now it has to be clearly understood that this feeling of insecurity can be fully and completely eliminated only by experiencing God’s protection alone. Even if a person enjoys other types of securities such as economic security, relational security etc., still there will be a place of worry in one’s life. A person who, though has a lot of other forms of securities, does not experience God’s protection, tends to worry and fret. Instead, a person who experiences God’s presence is not disturbed by the external factors. St. Paul was a person who experienced God’s protection very much. That is why in today’s second reading, he expresses how he was not worried about human judgment. People who are rooted in God are not much affected by human judgments, and external circumstances.
1) We need to avoid worry: a) by trusting in the providing care of a loving God. b) By acquiring the art of living one day at a time in God’s presence. c) By seeking God’s kingdom and doing His will every day, living a righteous life and serving others as best as we can.
2) We need to live one day at a time: Here are the three simple steps. First, we start the day with God by offering Him the day’s work for His glory, thus transforming all our work into prayers. Then we ask for a 24-hour full-activation of the Holy Spirit, so that we may do well for others and avoid evil. In the second step, we live realizing God’s presence in every one we meet and renewing our awareness of God’s presence by saying some small prayers. Taking the third step, we end each day with God. Before we go to sleep, we say, “Thank you, Lord, for walking through this day with me. I have wounded my soul today by my sins. Please pardon me. With your grace, I shall be more faithful tomorrow. Good night, Lord. Into your hands, I give my soul and my sleep.”
Loving Father, help us to experience your love and protection always so that we overcome this demon of worry in our lives. Amen.
FR. S.Vinner HGN