Introduction: Raymond Brown comments on this part of Matthew’s Gospel: “At our time when a consumer society is very concerned with the best in clothes and food and when a great deal of energy is put into being sure that we have financial security for the future, the Matthean Jesus’ challenge not to worry about what to eat, or to wear, or about tomorrow may be even more biting than in his own time.” Christ in the Gospels of Ordinary Time, p. 25 The issues about Ivanka Trump’s clothing line and other things seems to me to indicate that a rich woman like her lives in another reality. But it does make me reflect upon advertisements for clothes, the number of channels dedicated to food, and the high rate of anxiety in people.
WORRY is a recurring word in this section. It clearly is a recurring reality to us today.The word is used at least five times in this passage. Warren Carter, p. 176 “Do not worry. It forbids what many, in an age of anxiety, clearly do, provoked by political and socioeconomic injustices as well as by philosophical and religious uncertainties.” This observation contains words that have their own bite in our time. Each of us is called to reflect on “what do I worry about?” .
It is interesting that Matthew balances male and female roles in talking about the birds and then grass.Birds “neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns” (traditional outdoor male roles); Wild Flowers “neither toil nor spin (traditional female roles).
It is also significant that the first reading uses an image of God that is feminine: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
“You of little faith” This term will be used of the apostlesthree more times in the Gospel (8:26; 14:31; 16:8).It is true of us too.Carter, p. 178 “…indicates not the absence of any faith, but little faith which must grow stronger and not be swamped or paralyzed by apparently overwhelming circumstances.It is to grow by discerning God’s immensely powerful, faithful and gracious sovereignty in creation, which Jesus promises is available to trusting disciples.” What are the overwhelming circumstances that we feel in our lives? Some families worry where the money to pay the rent, buy food, and pay for the utilities will come from. Some might point to the war in Afghanistan, some to gun control, some to universal health care, some to immigration policy, some to the presidential actions of the present president, some…..What am I, as a disciple of Jesus, called to do in my desire to strive?
“Your heavenly father knows that you need all these things” The promise is for what we need, no excess or luxury.
“Strive first for the empire/reign and its justice/righteousness.” Strive means active doing.What does this mean for me?
In Matthew’s time the disciples were living in the pervasive contexts of worry and trouble/evil.We surely identify with this reality.
WORRY, FAITH, STRIVE.
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