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Reliance On Divine Providence

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

My dear encountered couples:

Jesus sent the apostles out to preach and cure without taking along much of anything. He wanted them to learn how to depend upon him for what they needed. We need to learn that too. If you are poor, if you possess very little, maybe you have a better opportunity to learn dependence on God than the wealthy do. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we pray. Jesus wanted the apostles and he wants us to look to him for everything. If that becomes a fixed habit and characteristic in us, we will not only receive what we need in this life but much, much more in the life to come.

Many people have a mad, insane wish to buy all they can, to surround themselves with whatever the world has to offer, whether they need it or not. Advertising tries to convince us that our lives will be dull and incomplete without the latest products. And far too often we believe it. And so, we buy, we accumulate; we want to possess in order to feel more secure. That’s the best way to deprive God of the opportunity to be trusted. Buying and accumulating, seeking all the material securities of the world is the surest way to keep from ever learning to depend upon God. We put fantastic limits on God. And that is a very big mistake.

Jesus told the apostles, “Take nothing on your journey but a walking stick - no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purses in your belts. Wearing sandals will be okay, but don’t take along a second tunic.”

Imagine telling your family that as you prepare to leave on vacation. Jesus knew that in the future the apostles would not survive unless they learned to depend completely on him. He wanted them to live not necessarily knowing how God was going to take care of them but convinced that he would. They would not know where they were going to sleep nor where their next meal was coming from. They were to fully trust that God would take care of those things. They were to concentrate their efforts on doing their jobs in life.

If you own very little, if life is tough, thank God for the opportunities he gives you to depend on him. St. James tells us to “rejoice in our troubles,” because they can add to our growth. If you own many things, and if you have the money to buy many more, ask God to remind you somehow every day that all those things are from him. Ask him to teach you trust and faith in him and to remove the trust and faith you have in those things. Try to learn how to use and enjoy them properly without them owning you. And remember, you don’t really own them either. They are a generous and temporary loan to you from God.

It is not easy to travel light. It is not easy to live without. But many do. When our bodies die, and we leave them behind, we all will be forced to travel light; we all will be without all the things we have accumulated around us. The blankets, the head phones, the ballgames - all will be left behind. Those who have learned to trust in God for everything will have no worry. They will be open to receive much more than they ever lost. But what happens to those people who never learn how to trust God, how to reach out to him. Pray that you never find yourself in that position.

Jesus tells you, “On your journey through life, don’t overburden yourself with too many things. Don’t put your trust in what will all pass away. Learn to look to me. Learn to reach out to my Father. Live securely, each day and forever, in us.”

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