(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, February 26, 2017)
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Many of us have experienced times in our lives of overwhelming fear that approached panic.
Perhaps it was a memory of being taken to the emergency room with a severe pain. Maybe it was being alone in a large city and we've lost our keys or our wallet. Maybe it was growing depression over the loss of a job and we didn't know how we were going to feed our family. Those would have been good times to recall today's Gospel.
A large crowd is gathered on a mountain, giving full attention to the words of Jesus. You're part of the crowd. A baby is crying, but the gentle wind blows phrases your way like "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear... why, look at the birds in the sky, they do not sow or reap ... yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.....Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself." What wonderfully soothing words. But are they true for us today? Jesus promises that they will come to those who have sufficient faith and trust in Him
Today's first reading is from a section of Isaiah called "The Book of the Consolation of Israel." The Jews in captivity in Babylon knew that they had wandered away from the Law and that God was punishing them. Even when they returned, they felt that God had abandoned them. So they cried out in their despair, and God answered them immediately in order to give them hope. He spoke these consoling words, "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49:15) What a "homey" example!
To those who question Jesus' words today when we see such discouraging scenes of starvation and death in countries around the globe, Jesus did not place the whole burden on God the Father. In our second reading today, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that all in the community are "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." Doesn't that remind us that much of the burden is ours?
Remember what St. James told us: "If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without things needed for the body, what does it profit?"
So, faith by itself has no works, but is dead. Doesn't that fit with what God said in the first reading?
It was God and the early Christian Community which attended the poor and the needy back then. It is still God and today’s community of faith which continues to make the promises of the Sermon on the Mount come at least partially true today.
Lent begins this Wednesday. Are we ready?
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor