HOW TO STOP WORRYING
This Sunday’s Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6:24-34 really spoke to me. Our Parish has a tendency to truly tie in every reading with our day to day events, and paint a picture of how or why the readings from the Bible are relevant in our lives. This one spoke specifically on why we should not be worrying about the things in life that we need – like food and clothes. Why are we so materialistic? Don’t we know that these things will be taken care of and provided to us when we need them?
“Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
Of course, worrying is something we do on a daily basis. It is so hard to let all things go and really trust that God will take care of them for us. The most remarkable thing was how it all does make sense.
The homily was delivered by a guest priest who spoke of growing up in Newark, NJ – attending a Catholic middle & high school in the area. He recalled of a time when his teacher ( a nun ) had the class read a specific book as part of their curriculum. The book was one which I had never heard before, Mama’s Bank Account. The book is a story of an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco in the 1920s, told as a series of recollections from one of the daughters. Though the family is poor and struggling, the mother of the family, Mama, never fails to get the family through difficulties with her simple values and wisdom.
The homily really honed in on how some children may have become insecure or worried about money and where it might come from in a poor family, Mama had the wisdom to create a fictional bank account in order to assuage such concerns. The children always felt secure, even in times of extreme poverty because they thought plenty of money existed for them elsewhere [in this bank account]. This kind of deception (of the most positive and virtuous sort possible) is one of the many tactics Mama employs to protect her children from harm and make them happy.
Only when the author of the book actually grew up, did she realize that there never was any real bank account – that her mother kept this “secret” to keep her kids happy and worry free. She was wise and knew that this was no matter for children to be worrying about.
I’m sure this clicked with me because I do my best to keep my little one stress free, although times will come when he understands certain situations around him, I’m know that we can all relate to this reading and homily.
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, parents or not – we all need to learn to worry LESS.