Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The more you pray, the less you'll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry.

“Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer….Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.” – St Pio of Pietrelcina (Franciscan Friar & stigmatist who bore the wounds of Christ for 50 years)

Gospel Text: (MT 20:17-28)
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What do you worry about? Health? Safety? Job security? Finances? Your children? We all have our lists. The world has no problem telling us how to handle these worries. It tells us to tackle the situation by working harder, getting extra training, buying better insurance, or figuring out how to influence people. It offers very self-oriented, self-focused responses that place our efforts and our fears at the forefront of our minds.

This kind of response seems to be at work in today’s Gospel reading. James and John are concerned about their future. Jesus has been talking about how he will be mocked, scourged, and crucified. What will that mean for these disciples? So they work with their mother to develop a long-term career plan. Now the mother and her sons ask Jesus to approve their proposal for James and John to be Jesus’ main men in his kingdom. While they seem to be doubling down on their commitment to Jesus, their real motives are self-centered.

The problem with such a self-oriented approach is that it makes our worries our top priority and reduces our life with God to something we can tend to only in our free time. But Jesus is the most important One! As we reorder our lives to reflect the values of his kingdom, we find that our cares and worries lose their all-encompassing nature. We become more confident that God will care for us.

So what’s worrying you today?

If you’re having trouble letting go, try to focus on Jesus’ love for you instead of whatever is causing anxiety. Ask him how you can imitate his love more fully, and let him take care of everything else.

I guess the big question for us to think about today is - Do we really trust him?

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