8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (March 2, 2014)

Joseph and Jesus

This week’s Readings

I love Jesus’ words of wisdom in Sunday’s Gospel, because they can make a difference in one’s life. He encourages us not to worry needlessly, trusting that God will provide us with what we need, when we need it. So many of the things you and I worry about are totally a product of our imagination … they exist nowhere else but in our minds. Try this exercise: Go back to this time last week. What were you worrying about then? Did it ever come to pass?

Now I’m not talking about prudential concern. If you worry about the funny noises your computer or car is making, then you do the prudent thing and make a backup or call a mechanic. If your children or spouse are acting totally out of character, you try to find out what’s wrong. You make a budget so you can control expenses. These are things you worry about but they are also things you can actually do something about. But for how many of our worries can we actually do something concrete and specific?

In dealing with my own worries, I was (and still am) greatly influenced by something that St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises. He said:God created us to praise, reverence, and serve God and in this way to save our souls. God created all of the rest of creation to help us achieve the purpose for which God created us.

So the question I ask myself is this: “Is what I am worrying about going to help me praise, reverence and serve God?” Just the very act of stepping back and asking that question puts things into perspective and we come back to the present moment instead of wandering way out there in an imaginary future.

To Ignatius’ insight I would add my own reflection. If there is something that I constantly or obsessively worry about, then I have made that “something” into a false god which controls my life. It’s a god that keeps me squashed, impotent, fearful, concerned only about myself.

Jesus says it so wonderfully: Seek first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be given you besides. Perhaps, as I said above, a good Lenten practice?

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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