Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
“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 not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26). There is something wonderfully reassuring about these words of Jesus. He knows how much our sense of security and satisfaction too often depend solely upon the fragile support of human effort alone. He wants us to realize that the only trustworthy support is God’s love for us.
If only we would listen to the words of Jesus and notice how solicitous he is for even the smallest of creatures. It is the power of faith that enables us to tap into that divine source of goodness which consoles and liberates endlessly. Authentic faith is not limited to affirming the statements of a creed. Real faith is something that we pray for and yearn for. It is a gift that can change everything.
It is said that Pope John XXIII, when visiting a group of seminarians in Rome and knowing that he was dying from cancer, said to them: “My dear students. Every day is a good day– a good day for living and a good day for dying!” He could never have said that dying was a good day if he had not blest every day in his long life, and by now have discovered that he can no longer change this habit. The implication is that one must take time in the easy days to bless the goodness of God’s world so that when the dark days come one can scarcely know anything so clearly as the blessing of another good day.
Faith also enables us to discover goodness in the most unexpected places. I discovered this when, as a little boy, I went with my mother to visit an aunt. I soon discovered that I was not interested in their conversation so I began walking around and soon discovered my aunt’s flower bed. I admired its beauty and noticed how carefully it was cared for. Suddenly my jaw dropped as I noticed in the center of the flower bed a very large specimen of wild carrot. As a farm boy, I recognized it immediately as a nasty weed. About that time my mother and aunt came along and I was dumbfounded to hear my aunt point to my “weed” and say to my mother, “I want you to notice in particular this wonderful specimen of Queen Anne’s Lace.” My “weed” just happened to have two names! Jesus tells us that the gift of faith enables us to find beautiful flowers where we thought there were only weeds.
“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 not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26).
Demetrius R. Dumm, OSB