O. T. VIII (A): Is 49:14-15; I Cor 4:1-5; Mt 6:24-34
Two business executives meet for lunch. Gene asks Ed: "How's your health?" Ed said, "I feel great! My ulcers are gone. I feel great!" Gene says, "How did that happen? Ed says, “Well, you know my doctor told me my ulcers were caused from worrying. So, I hired myself a professional worrier. Whenever something worrisome comes up, I turn it over to him, and he does all my worrying for me!" Gene says, "Wow, I'd like to hire someone like that! How much does he charge?" Ed says, "One hundred thousand dollars!" Gene asked, "How in the world can you afford $100,000? Ed says, "I don't know. I let him worry about that!"
Today’s readings give us an invitation to avoid unnecessary worries by putting our trust in the love and providence of a merciful God, and then living each day’s life as it comes, doing His will and realizing His presence within us and others.
Today’s first reading, taken from the prophet Isaiah, begins with the Lord God’s rhetorical question “Can a mother forget her infant?” and His solemn pledge, “Even should she forget, I will never forget you!” This is one of the most touching expressions of God’s love in the Bible. Through the prophet, God assures Israel of His unfailing love when the people of Israel cry out in despair, believing that they have been forgotten by God. 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.
Some people worry all the time. Poor people worry that they have no money and rich people worry that they don’t have enough money. Sick people worry about their premature death, and healthy people worry about getting sick. Some people worry about their past blunders, and others worry about their future. Everyone one, it seems, worries about something all the time. Only trust and faith in God can take us beyond the immediacy of worries and an inordinate focus on ourselves. The tragedy of most of our lives is that we worry so much about tomorrow that we never claim the resources God has for our living today. Hence, Jesus gives us some reasons why we should not worry. 1) Worry is a pagan or an irreligious attitude of those who don’t believe in a loving and providing God. Worry is the ultimate act of rebellion against the rule of God in a believer’s life. How? Worry says that God is dead; and if He is alive, then He is incapable of doing anything about my situation! It is a deficiency of faith that causes us to worry over health or food, past or future. 2) Only humans worry: In nature, other creatures, like birds, work hard for their daily food, but they don’t worry about tomorrows. 3) Worry is useless because we cannot increase even an inch of height by days of worrying. I did that a lot when I was young. 4)Worry is injurious to the health because it causes physical and mental problems and illnesses.
We need to live one day at a time: Here are the three simple steps. First, we start the day with God. We set aside for prayer at least fifteen minutes early in the day, and begin by repeating Psalm 118, verse 24: “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Then we thank God for the day and dedicate it to His glory, ask for a 24-hour full-activation of the Holy Spirit so that He may provide the resources we don’t have for living victoriously that day. Secondly, we touch base with God periodically throughout the day. This could take the form of what saints call “red-light prayers,” little prayers that we can whisper with eyes wide open, perhaps when we’re about to talk with a customer or just before boarding a plane or when we have a tough decision to make. This is what St. Paul meant when he advised us to “pray continually” (I Thess. 5:17). It is amazing what peace this God-consciousness can bring. In 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. Thanks for helping me at critical points. I have wounded my soul today by my sins. Please pardon me. With Your grace I shall be more faithful tomorrow. Now, I ask for a restful night of sleep, and if You see fit to give me another day tomorrow, I will receive it gladly. I love you, Lord. Amen.”