Sunday, February 26, 2017

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Serve God & Do not Worry!

Today's readings remind us to trust God and not worry in life.

The first reading shows us the relationship between God and His people.  This relationship is like a mother and her infant. This relationship is the most powerful one in nature.  Not even the relationship between a couple or siblings is as strong as that between a mother a child.  This is why Satan attacks this relationship via abortion by making the child an enemy of the mother.  God loves His people like a mother (Hosea 11:3-4, Hosea 13:8, Deuteronomy 32:11-12;18, Isaiah 66:13, Psalm 131:2, Psalm 123:2-3).  This does not mean He is female. Scripture uses metaphorical language at times.  There is no basis to call God a "woman" on these verses.  Nevertheless, we can describe the relationship in human terms to get a better grasp.  God alone is the one we should seek (1 Chronicles 16:11). In Him, we find our rest. The responsorial Psalm tells us this.

In his book, "Confessions," the great Saint Augustine of Hippo tells us, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”  His words speak the truth!  We are all restless until we rest in God.  Even atheists are not immune to this.  I have brought this quote up to many atheists that I come into contact with. Atheists seem fixated on God and religion.  If they do not believe in God or religion, why discuss it so much?  This is because their hearts and minds are crying out to God.  They are restless and will not find rest until they find God's heart and reside in it. The Psalm tells us today that only in God is our soul at rest.  He is our rock and our salvation.  How true are these words?!  God is our source of fortitude and peace. The world, at many times, does not make sense to us. However, the closer we get to God, the more sense things make in life. This is why we read the stories of the saints and learn how they are able to withstand everything for the sake of God.  This is because they got so close to God that they were at rest. The world could not affect them nor break them. They were whole now.  This is our goal. We must "Trust in Him at all times," as the Psalm says. The second reading reminds us that we are servants of Christ.  We belong to Him, no one else.  Because of this, we must act like Christ.  We must not bear false witness nor judge others. What is hidden in us will be brought to the light.  Our secrets, our hypocrisy will be exposed to all, so it is best to live a legitimate Christian life and not have more faces that Mount Rushmore!

Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus says that we cannot serve two masters. We either serve God or serve money.  The world we live in is so fixated on making a profit.  Everything is about money.  In a world full of terrorism and other evils, I notice how better-protected money is then people. In banks, atm machines are fortified, their programming is set to the point that it hands out the exact amount requested, no room for errors.  Yet, when a human being seeks help, applies for a job or school, there is so much red tape and many problems arise which brings the person to frustration. How is it that money is so secure and dealings with it so protected, but a human person is not?  One can see where priorities are in society. When money trucks bring money to a cashier or bank, there are armed men who follow the money almost as if it were a president.  Why is this same protection not given to people on the streets? How can a piece of paper have more security than a living person?  It is time to wake up from this stupidity! We created money. We created economies. These are our constructs. They serve us.  We should not serve them!  Above all, we must serve only God. Money exists to serve us and keep a somewhat sense of order in society.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with it and why I and others must ask for donations in order to do our ministries.  e must do all we can to help one another, even via donations.  Remember, we cannot take our money with us in the afterlife. There are no atm machines in heaven, hell or purgatory. So why not donate to help the poor and ministries that promote the Gospel and teachings of the Church such as my own? We must not worry where our food or drink will come from. God will provide. We must not worry about where our clothing will come from.  God will provide.  The birds in the sky do not sow or reap, yet God cares for them. This was one of the verses that captured the mind and heart of St. Francis of Assisi. He fell in love with Sister Poverty!  Worrying in life gets us nowhere. It shows a lack of faith.  God will provide. Right now, I need to raise $35,000 to maintain and expand this ministry. However, I need $2,500 now to pay for the domain names etc by December 2017.  Now, I can sit and worry since I only get a $70 stipend from my superiors, or I can trust in God that He will inspire fellow Catholics to donate and help.  I choose the latter!  I see the birds in the air, I see the wild flowers who do not spin, but are "dressed" nicely and know that if God cares for those creatures, He will care for this ministry if it is His will. I will just do my part like St. Francis and become a little beggar, setting pride aside and realizing that I do not control life, God does.  We must also do the same in our life situation.  We must trust God, serve Him only!  If we have money, we must use it for our needs and the rest give it away or save it for others (Acts 20:35, Proverbs 19:17).  Money can corrupt.  It can make one feel powerful and is addictive.  This is why we must be detached from it.  When we are detached from money, it has no power over us.  This is why I do not save money.  I spend it on this ministry or donate it to a charity or pro-life cause after I bought whatever I needed, not wanted!  Let us serve the one master, God! Let us be detached from wealth and only seek our real treasure, Jesus!  May Jesus Christ be praised!


Please help this ministry by donating via PayPal or  Your gift will help me continue this work and expand it.  Remember, we must serve God not mammon. Show this by donating to help serve Godby spreading His word.

You can also help by purchasing my books. My latest book, "Introduction to the Catholic Church" will truly benefit Catholics and others curious of the Catholic faith. You can purchase it in paperback for $12 or Kindle Ebook for $9.99.

Here are some writings from holy writers: 

Now Jesus calls mammon here "a master," not because of its own nature but on account of the wretchedness of those who bow themselves beneath it. So also he calls the stomach a god, not from the dignity of such a mistress but from the wretchedness of those enslaved.
To have mammon for your master is already worse itself than any later punishment and enough retribution before the punishment for any one trapped in it. For what condemned criminals can be so wretched as those who, once having God for their Lord, do from that mild rule desert to this grievous obsession for money?
Even in this life such idolatry trails immense harm in its path, with losses unspeakable. Think of the lawsuits! The harassments, the strife and toil and blinding of the soul! More grievous, one falls away thereby from the highest blessing—to be God's servant.

— St. John Chrysostom(344 - 407)

Source: "The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 21.2," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 143–144.

Mammon—riches are so termed in Syriac. Let the covetous man who is called by the Christian name, hear this, that he cannot serve both Christ and riches. Yet he said not, he who has riches, but, he who is the servant of riches. For he who is the slave of money, guards his money as a slave; but he who has thrown off the yoke of his slavery, dispenses them as a master.
— St. Jerome(354 - 430)

Source: Quoted in Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 248.

When he said that the one is to be sought first, Jesus clearly intimates that the other is to be sought later—not that it is to be sought at a later time but that it is to be sought as a thing of secondary importance. He showed that the one is to be sought as our good, that the other is to be sought as something needful for us, but that the needful is to be sought for the sake of the good.
— St. Augustine(354 - 430)

Source: "Sermon on the Mount, 2.16.53," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 145.

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