March 2, 2014
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
[Jesus said to the disciples] 24 "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.
25 "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? 26 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? 27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? 28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. 29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. 30 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? 31 So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' 32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. 34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
When Jesus lived, it was not uncommon for families to have servants. When the patriarch of the family died, he might leave one servant to two different sons. That servant had to divide his time and allegiance between both sons and their extended families. This was probably not an easy task, which is why it must have been a powerful symbol for the people Jesus is instructing in this reading.
When Jesus talks about loving one master and hating the other, he is not speaking of the affectionate kind of love which comes to mind when most westerners hear the word. Jesus would have used the term “love” as an expression of attachment or loyalty. “Hate” would express a sense of detachment, not animosity.
In the second part of this gospel text, Jesus tells the disciples to trust in God’s care for them, and trust that it will provide for their life needs. The vast majority of the people were peasants who lived from day to day. They experienced on a daily basis a God who provided for them, they and also saw many whose basic needs were not provided for. They would have heard Jesus’ words of reassurance much differently than many of us.
1. When are you aware that you are trying to live two different sets of values?
2. Do you know people who live with a sense that God is taking care of them?
3. Who are the people or what are the activities around which you plan your day?
4. What are the things you that you worry about? What are the things you do not let yourself worry about?
5. When was the last time you put a problem or situation into God’s hands? What happened?
6. Do you have experiences that give you a sense that God really is looking out for you and your well-being? How do you respond?
7. How do you think the homeless and chronically under-employed hear Jesus’ statement of reassurance?
8. Have you ever prayed that God would use you as God desires, even if that meant that you would not be successful or that you would have to endure some kind of difficulty?
9. Have you ever prayed to see others, the world, and yourself with the eyes and heart of God?
On Wednesday of each week, the Gospel and reflection questions for the upcoming Sunday are posted at the following link: http://il-ritiro.org/gospel-reflections.aspx
. You are invited to share your own reflection and comments with others at this website.
Reflection questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM.
They are edited by Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF and Joe Thiel.
They are translated into Spanish by Br. Guillermo Morales, OFM.
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