8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
8th Sunday / Ordinary / A
February 25-26, 2017
St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames, Iowa
Fr. Jon Seda
Priest get a lot of junk mail, and now junk email. I usually delete them, but glanced at one a few months ago that was a DVD series on the Eucharist. It had a quote of Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, Alabama that said: "If we do not worship God on Sunday, we forget who God is. And if we forget who God is, we forget who we are."
Lots of people on this campus and in this community spend Sunday doing their own thing. It is me-time, not God-time. The consequence of this life is that we forget who we are, and I would add, who we are not. The consequence of this is that we become anxious and worried.
The first reading from the prophet Isaiah speaks of forgetting. The Lord says, "Can a mother forget the child in her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." The Lord says that to each of us by name: "I will never forget you."
The Gospel speaks of what happens when we forget God. Each day we are pulled in many different directions. If we do not set priorities, we experience what is called the tyranny of the urgent. We forget what is truly important. We do not pay attention of the big picture of life. We run from one thing to another, one day after another. And we end up being dis-integrated, and live with constant worry.
Jesus says, "Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself." And we might think, is this possible? How is this possible?
I heard an insight into this on this past Wednesday evening at our large group student event called Come Awake. A student gave a testimony that reminded me of how we can put a lot of stress on ourselves. Much of our stress is self-imposed by how we look at life. She spoke of a shift in her life, and that shift was where she found her sense of worth. If we look outside of ourselves for our worth, we will always fall short and be disappointed. We think, if I do not get this scholarship, I am not a success. If I don't date this person, I am not loved. If my health fails, I cannot be happy. To look for our sense of worth outside of ourselves sets us up for frustration and worry.
Jesus in the Gospel offers us a different way, a better way. The student spoke of finding her sense of worth in her relationship with the Lord. "Seek first the kingdom of God and holiness, and all you need will be given you." If we are in a right relationship with God and anchored in his love, everything else falls into place.
I was discussing this with a friend, and told him I do not like the saying, "Let go, let God." Don't buy me a plague with that on it because I won't put it on my wall. I don't like it because it sounds so passive, like I am supposed to just sit back and wait for God to do something. He suggested that I re-phrase it as "Do the best you can, and then turn it over." When we do this, our level of stress and worry lessens significantly. Yes, we have a role, but we are not God. At the end of the day, a good prayer would be: "Lord, I tried to do my best today, and it wasn't perfect. Now I turn it all over to you. You worry about it. I am going to bed." That is how we stop worrying, by taking our eyes off of ourselves and our problem, and keep our eyes on the Lord. It is happy way to live life.
I like the quote of Archbishop Rodi because it tells me why I need to be here every Sunday. "If we do not worship God on Sunday, we forget who God is. And when we forget who God is, we forget who we are." When we forget who we are, and who we are not, we worry.