Gospel Reflection: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

THE EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

ALLELUIA

The word of God is living and effective,

discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.

ALLELUIA

 

A READING FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST.  MATTHEW 6: 24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

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?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about clothes?  Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?


So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All these things the pagans seekYour heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

 

REFLECTION

How blessed we are that Saint Matthew has preserved in such an orderly fashion the blessed (Beatitudes) teachings of Jesus Christ.  Cast as the New Moses, Jesus from the New Mount Sinai instructs His disciples in the manner they are to live as His disciples in the world.  With an emphatic pronouncement, Jesus dismisses the cultural norms and religious assumptions of His day: Therefore, I tell you!  From the lips of God-Incarnate comes the command: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness!

Everything other than the Kingdom of God and God’s right-order is secondary!  All the thoughts and actions of a Jesus-Disciple are to be scrutinized by one criteria: How do my thoughts and actions contribute to building up the Kingdom of God?   For five consecutive Sundays, through His Sermon on the Mount Jesus has powerfully instructed us in discipleship, and the ways we are to evaluate the practices of the world.

On a daily basis, a Jesus-Disciple must choose which master he/she will follow because No one can serve two masters!  Often, this competition for mind and heart has been interpreted as the tension between God and money/possessions. However, the tension and challenge is more sophisticated than that.  For sure, the human condition demands attention to the physical needs of food, clothing and shelter.  We have to be responsible for themselves and those entrusted to their care.  However, these appropriate needs are exasperated and inflamed by a culture that continually manipulates us into thinking that we need the most popular, the most fashionable, and the most exclusivethat we need more!  Too often, too many give in to the coercive propaganda that defines success in terms of material possessions.  Jesus opposes this thinking by declaring: All these things the pagans seek.

In addition, this exaggerated commercialism and greed fuels the anxiety and worry that Jesus identifies as spiritually destructive.  Five times in the Gospel Jesus instructs us not to worry or have anxiety for the things of the world.  Jesus teaches that life, and life eternal is more important than all the things of the world: Is not life more than food ….Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

The Gospel has skillfully lead us to a point where we must seriously consider whether we live a life filled with anxiety chasing after worldly things or whether we use what we have to build up the Kingdom of God.  Living a life of Gospel-detachment is no easy task.  Trusting in God, risking ourselves on the providence of God can raise within us apprehension and fear.  Jesus assures us that God knows our weakness and our needs: Your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

The providence, the attentiveness of the Father for us is indeed intensified the more we detach ourselves from this world’s false promises and security, and rely on Him alone. Our Holy Church encourages us to embrace the challenging teaching of Jesus by providing these encouraging words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?  Even should she forget, I (the Lord) will never forget you!

As the Heavenly Father did not forget His Son in death but raised Him up, the Father will provide for the disciples of His Son, especially when we imitate the Son’s commitment to the Kingdom of God and we sacrifice for its establishment!

Encountering the Divine Physician, Jesus Christ (St. Luke 5: 17-26) Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

addiction-support family find-us history grief-or-loss marriage mens storiespng testimonial womens young-adulthood healing our-grounds prayers calendar malvern-live retreats2go plan-your-visit donate