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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Reflection/Homily: Eight (8th) Sunday of Ordinary Time of the Year A (2 March 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Eight (8th) Sunday of Ordinary Time of the Year A (2 March 2014)
Theme: Do Not Worry – Trust in God.

There was a time during the Babylonian exile when the people of Israel seemed to have lost all hope in God as a result of the difficulties confronting them. They thought God had forgotten and abandoned them to perish. In their despair, God spoke to them through the Prophet Isaiah reassuring them of His love for them. It is against this backdrop that we can understand the first reading (Isaiah 49:14-15) where Isaiah compares the love of God with the love of a mother. Through the Prophet, God assures them that even if a woman forgets the baby at her breast, that He (the Lord) will never forget His people. At the moment, you may be undergoing a form of exile in your life and you may also have fallen into despair just as the Israelites did. The Word of God still remains valid for you today that even in your difficulties and hopelessness, the Lord has never forgotten you. In fact, the Lord cannot forget his own. He is aware of the difficulties you are passing through. You may be suffering as a result of your sins or even innocently, but bear in mind that the sufferings of all who belong to God are always redemptive and that the Lord will always vindicate His own.

Have you forgotten the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery? He underwent severe difficulties and temptations and even when it seemed God was far from him, then, He (God) was even closer to him. Joseph never lost hope in God, he remained steadfast in faith and hope and at the end, he was exalted. His suffering became redemptive not just for him but for the whole household of Israel. Otherwise, there would have been no hope for them during the famine. Job also had to undergo several difficulties and temptations but he never lost hope in God. Psalm 125:1 assures us that those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion that can never be shaken. Even though they may experience difficulties, the Lord will deliver them because the Bible says in Psalm 34:19 that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. That is why the responsorial psalm invites us to rest our souls in God alone.

To have our souls rest in God alone means to place all our hope and trust in God believing that God will definitely take care of our needs. This is exactly the point Jesus also emphasizes in the Gospel reading (Mt. 6:24-34) when he invites us to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things will be given to us. One lesson we can earn from the gospel reading is the futility of worrying. Jesus asks “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life span?” and we know the answer is NO. Most often, our worries are about food, clothing and other material needs. How often do we worry about our spiritual needs; the need to go for confession, to do charity, or to attend to the needs of others? We seem to be so much preoccupied with our material needs that we forget our spiritual needs and the needs of those around us.  Today, Jesus reminds us of the need to worry no more and rely on God for all that we need. If we concentrate on doing what is right, we will have enough for ourselves and for others. It is wrong worrying about piling up goods for our unborn generation when there are hungry people around us. If we must worry, let us worry about the means of improving human conditions and not for our selfish gains. 

For this reason, St. Paul in the second reading (1 Cor. 4:1-5) reminds us that we are servants of God and stewards of God’s mysteries and as such faithfulness is demanded of us. On the last day, God will judge how faithful we have been. Servants and stewards are always dependent on their masters for their wellbeing and so should we also depend on God. In our moments of difficulties, we still have to depend on God and remain faithful to our responsibilities. If we trust in God, God will never disappoint us because He never disappointed those who trusted in Him. If we trust in Him, we may not need to embezzle public fund for our unborn children or waste money purchasing things we do not need at the moment while ignoring the needs of the poor around us. Therefore, may God grant us the grace to constantly trust in Him that His grace may be sufficient in our lives through Christ our Lord. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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