Quit Worrying About Tomorrows
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
My dear encountered couples:
Even people who do not agree with Christ on anything else will say that he sure is right about that last statement of his, “Today has troubles enough of its own.”
When we wake up in the morning, no matter how well we may have planned the day, we never really know what the day is going to bring. Some days that start off beautifully soon become ugly; others that look bad from the first step out of bed somehow go along real well. Whichever the day may bring, good or bad, one thing for certain - we are going to experience it - for it is today that we are alive and able to be in touch. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not yet here.
Often, though, we are still reliving yesterdays and planning tomorrows. By means of our thoughts, our minds transport us out of the present and into the past or future. This is not entirely a waste of time. For we can learn from our past and prepare for our future. However, I think our excursions away from the present had better not take too long for we will miss too much of our lives. We need to become more aware of the here and now. By thinking clearly and with God's help we can be led to making the right decisions needed at the moment. Today has decisions to be made and things to be done. Let us not neglect them while on mental trips into other times and places.
I think Jesus in speaking to us as he does in today's gospel is trying to get us to become more aware of living in the present. “Quit worrying about tomorrows. The birds and the flowers don't worry and God takes care of them. You are much more important than they. God will certainly take care of you today - tomorrow too when it comes. So, stop worrying.” Jesus tries hard to calm our nerves and relieve us of stress. Yet we still worry and the stress of life seems unbearable. Why don't we believe him?
It doesn't take too much of a glance at nature to discover reasons for our lack of trust. Birds and flowers seem to do real well in the warm, sunny days of spring to fall. But in winter the flowers die, birds starve and freeze. Where is their God then?
We shift this observation to ourselves and think, “Sure, I believe what Jesus says. God will take care of me like he cares for the birds and flowers. That means I'm going to have some very rough and unpleasant times. I might run short of money for food, I might get sick, and surely someday I will die. But I think I will plan things out so that there will be as little pain and lack of money as possible.” So, we trust very little in God helping us with our daily needs, and we worry full time over the care and feeding of ourselves and our dependents.
I believe that our lack of trust in the words of Jesus about God taking care of us is the result of our misunderstanding of what life is really all about. We forget, or never really knew, that our lives on earth are to be lived in preparation for life with God and others in heaven.
Never will life here become completely secure and comfortable. Never will cures for all diseases, plenty of food and money for all people, complete control of nature's elements, never will all this take place on this earth - NEVER! But we seem to live under the illusion that it will. Though we know that we are going to die, we often get caught up in the illusion that we will live in this body forever. And so, we concentrate on trying to create for ourselves an earthly heaven. This is not going to happen. Jesus never had this in mind.
What Jesus Christ means when he says not to worry because God is always with you taking care of you is this: Trust in God during every moment of every day. Let him work your life out so that no matter what take place, God will bring it about that it works towards your growth and betterment. He will see to it that you reach human and spiritual maturity and become completely capable of entering into the perfect, blissful life of another world, the eternal heaven. Though you never seem to have enough money to pay all your bills, though food is sometimes lacking, though you might need more clothes, though your pleasures are few and far between, God is caring for you through all this and forming you into the person you need to become to be able to live and enjoy the riches and security of heaven.
Birds, and perhaps flowers, do suffer. They certainly all die. We see that. But what we don't see is God who is with them during these times. Each bird, every living creature, dies in the presence of God, in the hands of God who reclaims them and takes them to Himself where they will always be cared for.
You and I are of much more importance and value than them. God, whom we do not see, is always with us. In the midst of the good and bad experiences he is at work doing what he loves most: Bringing out that which is best for each of us. When you die, God will be there. He never forgets you, he never forsakes you. Believe that with all your heart. For it is the Gospel Truth.
Jesus never promised anyone complete happiness in this life, but it will come in the next. And so, he says, “Enough, then, of worrying about tomorrow. Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek Him first and all else will be yours, some of it now, all of it later - with me - in heaven.”