Saturday, 26 February 2011

Never trouble trouble...

Sunday Gospel - Matthew 6: 24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
  ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

All these weeks of Matthew have been a real challenge - verse after verse of Jesus telling us that things have to be different; life has to be different; we have to be different; that we may live in the world but we are not of the world.

This part of the Gospel seems to be the respite; the reward for all the that Jesus challenges us to do.

 this is a gift but it is not a comfort - hear what Jesus says again - 'do not worry - life is hard enough'. 

Look again, at the natural world - the lilies may grow; the birds of the air may sing and soar but their life is not easy - far from it - when I  look around at the grey bark of the trees that have stood this long winter; the snowdrops that reveal their pearly heads almost overnight and the birds foraging through the ashes of autumn leaves - tiny wrens bouncing through the frozen hedgerows whilst I cower in the warmth of my central heating - the blackbird that finds his voice to welcome a sun hiding behind layers of violet grey February clouds- I am amazed at where they get their stamina from. Having cared for injured birds and wild animals in the past - I often wonder how they persevere. But they do - because they know no other way.

The thought that 'it's not fair', 'it's too hard' or 'I can't' doesn't occur to them.
Where there is life there is - life.

How else should you acknowledge God's gift but to use it?  The life that you are given is not meant to be lived in despair and dissatisfaction; it is not meant to be worn away by ambition, avarice or anxiety. Jesus came so that we could live life to the full; finding purpose, joy and contentment through a life that feeds life in others and ourselves.

Why should we have aspirations to a life of luxury; why do we expect it to be easy? If Jesus is prepared to live as he does; struggle as he and his family does; suffer as he does - why should be be different for us? The example of our Servant King tell us all we need to know. We have people to meet; places to be; deeds to do. This is a place of work - this is not our home.



claire said...

Thank you for your reflection, mairie. It helped me see that I like this passage because in it Jesus speaks like a true pilgrim, like the perfect pilgrim -- which he is, of course.
Walking to Compostela, one sees so many people wanting to make sure that everything is planned, leaving very little space for surprises -- good or bad. It takes a lot of 'letting go' before one can get up and start the day with the day ahead free like a blank page.
Thank you. You have helped me connect the dots :-)

Word in the Hand said...

I envy you that walk Claire, one I would hope to take someday - it will be unplanned if it ever happens - I have walked a little on Circe de Gavarnie and spent time in the little Church there - I have lots of dots to connect!
Be well m+x

Margaret said...

Well said, but turned off that higher-thinking anxious mind is so hard, at least for me.

Word in the Hand said...

It is - I spend most of my writing time talking to myself - only occasionally do I take my own advice!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true Marie! We want to follow Jesus but not imitate him - too difficult! And yet, we are asked to pick up and carry our crosses. Wonderful thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true Marie! We want to follow Jesus but not imitate him - too difficult! And yet, we are asked to pick up and carry our crosses. Wonderful thoughts!