8th Sunday, year "A"
Jesus compares us with the birds of the sky and with the wild flowers. We have certainly a lot of needs in common with them. We belong to the same biological or animal world. But there is something that they don't have and we have: it is the capacity of expressing our need through speech. When our need is expressed, it is no longer simply a need. It becomes a desire, a petition, which establishes a presence, a relation‑ ship and, ultimately love. When, as a human being I express a need to someone I do not simply ask for something; I ask "someone" for something. I ask someone to be the one who will answer my need. I ask someone to love me and to show his or her love by fulfilling my desire.
We can, therefore, easily perceive all the depth of the prophet Isaiah's message when he compares God's care for us to the love of a mother. "Even if a mother should forget her child I will never forget you or be without tenderness for you," says the Lord.
And in the Gospel Jesus compares God to a father who knows everything that we need. Therefore we should not be concerned about how our needs will be answered. The essence of Jesus' message in this text is not to worry. Of course, Jesus is not opposed to our expressing to our Father all our needs. On the contrary, he explicitly invites us to do so. But he repeats over and over again: Don't worry!
Once again he speaks of the detachment that must be the mark of a Christian. His words remind us of the beatitudes, and especially of the happiness promised to the poor. A man has to be truly free if he is to enter the kingdom; that is why it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (Matthew 19‑23).
We cannot seek the kingdom, we cannot live in a permanent conscious union with God if we are too much concerned about our needs ‑‑ and not only our material needs. Real pain or hunger cry out and, of course, cannot be evaded; our fears and our psychic wounds may fester for years before we finally open our eyes to them. In all the areas of our personalities and our human situations where we feel ourselves to be individually at risk, there are our hunger and pain. And these needs, if they are not clearly acknowledged can seriously limit our relationships with men and women and with God.Expressing them to God is the best means to become reconciled with them.
Then Jesus tells us that since the relationship between the one who has needs and the person whom he expects to answer these needs is a love relationship, there is a total antagonism between God, whom he calls Abba, Father; and money, which he calls Mammon. Love is jealous, and you cannot maintain those two lovers, or serve those two masters.
The prophet Ezechiel expressed that in a very vivid manner, when he reproached the people of Israel for seeking their security in human alliances rather than in Jahweh. "My people have committed two sins, says Jahweh. They have abandoned me, the fountain of living waters; and they have fabricated for themselves cisterns, leaking cisterns that cannot hold water."
Let us have a walk through the garden of our hearts and of our life, and we will probably discover a good deal of those leaking cisterns that we have built over the years to protects ourselves against any eventual need. If we let these cisterns dry, we will be rich with God's tenderness that will never fail us. And right now let us approach with a poor's heart the table where he is offering us the Bread of Eternal Life.
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