Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Trust in God

Lectionary Readings:

  • Isaiah 49: 14-15. God, our mother, cannot forget us, the children formed in the womb of divine love.
  • 1 Corinthians 4: 1-5. We are servants of Christ and mediators of the mysteries of God. The Lord is our one judge, to bring to light what is hidden in darkness.
  • Matthew 6:24-34. We cannot serve two masters, trust in your heavenly Father who knows all that you need. Do not worry about your livelihood. Is not life more than food, the body more valuable than clothes?

Thoughts for your Consideration:

This week the scripture readings ask us to place our trust in God. Isaiah first tells us that God, like a loving mother, will never forget us. St. Paul places his trust in the righteous judgment of God. Finally Jesus tells us that we ought to place our complete trust in God who will take care of all our needs. Now on the one hand this message sounds pretty obvious and straight forward. Of course we should place our trust in God. How else can we claim to be faithful Christians if we do not place our trust in the Divine author of all creation. But on a deeper level this concept of placing our entire trust in God is no less challenging then last week’s Gospel mandate to love one’s enemies. For a person like me who struggles with personal and family responsibilities I cannot help but ponder on Jesus’ teaching with a healthy dose of skepticism. Could you not imaging doubting Thomas musing to himself while Jesus is preaching this message, “really, all these things will be given?”

In the Gospel reading Jesus doesn’t just tell us to place our trust in God like Isaiah and Paul do, instead he challenges us to let go our own sense of control and responsibility. In the first verse in the Gospel reading we are told that we cannot serve two masters. We are asked to faithfully serve God. This portion of the Gospel passage sits well with many of us since we are in control of the service that we freely choose to give. But then in the following verses Jesus turns this invitation to serve upside down. What is being proposed here is not a contract for service but an intimate relationship based on self sacrifice. It is not merely that we are called to serve God faithfully; instead we are also asked to allow ourselves to be served by God as well. That may be the hardest condition of this divine relationship since we are asked to accept the control and responsibility of God and as much as we profess to love God we are challenged to accept the fact that we do not and cannot fully comprehend nor understand God’s ways.

To serve God is to allow ourselves to fully trust in God who “will bring to light what is hidden in darkness.” There is so much instability and suffering in our world. People are acting and reacting to one another. Voices advocating peace, restraint and dialogue are being dismissed as illusory, misguided or even treacherous. This is the time where our faith is being tested to its very core. As Jesus points out, it is not just a question of whether or not we allow ourselves to be at the service of God, rather, it is the question of whether or not we are open to God’s control and responsibility with a social and personal situation that appears out of control. In the Middle East and North Africa we are aware of amazing social movements that are taking place before our very eyes, how do we respond to this? Here in our own nation the economic situation has gone viral and all eyes are on Wisconsin to see how they are responding to the desperate financial crisis that they are in. This is only a taste of the looming federal budget war that will soon be upon us. How shall we respond to this?

We respond by accepting the fact that God is present in the moment. Isaiah reminds us that God has not forgotten us and even in the moments when it seems that God has forsaken us God is very much present. Of all the responsibilities that we have St. Paul tells us that only God is responsible for judging what is in the hearts of each of us. We must continue to be defenders of peace and justice to all of God’s people without any discrimination or bias.

Jesus is not asking us to be passive and aloof on all that is happening. Instead he is asking us to not despair in the midst of great personal and social instability. Even in moments like this “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” In the midst of popular uprisings and social upheavals let us not start judging motives. Instead let us be heralds of human dignity and peace by engaging with the international community to create avenues of dialogue with the intention of offering a nonviolent transition of power while addressing the social issues that concern these communities. Instead of making broad sweeping statements on any one group involved in the financial struggles of Wisconsin or the United States let us instead call for a creative response to the underlying issues while addressing the Christian values of promoting the option for the poor and vulnerable. God is very much present in this moment; let us allow ourselves to be open to the creative possibilities that are being brought forth.

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About jdgonzo73

I am a Catholic lay minister in the field of Christian ethics, Latino theology and Paulacrucian spirituality. I am currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Fordham, an ad-junct professor at Molloy College and St. John's University and the Project Coordinator with the Catholic Roundtable.
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