Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress…. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings (www.indianchild.com).
The man was in haste to see the development of the butterfly. But he was not a butterfly. He thought he knew better, and ruined the life of a beautiful creature. He was worried nothing was happening, which showed his ignorance in relation to other creatures, and brought disaster.
We, too, worry so much that nothing is happening to our life the way we want or design it. Most of the time though, our worries are about things we like to acquire for ourselves, about the way we want people to be, about events we have carelessly engineered, or about the things we have not done that we really should have done. It is a situation wherein we have not been responsible enough, or we have lost our trust in ourselves as children of God and in the Almighty who is in-charge of everything.
Besides the many things that fill up our houses, we have added other concerns that we have justified as basic: the 3 C’s of today’s society:
1) Cell phones and computers. We want to rest on the security that we can reach everybody. We have rather been too pre-occupied with media and many mediocre messages, rather than the message of God;
2) Cars. We want to feel the freedom of movement. We have rather been always on the move at the expense of the values of presence in the family and of silence;
3) Credit cards: We want to feel the security of being on top of every situation without being dependent on others. We have rather been unconsciously dependent on financial institutions, rather than on Providence and on our capabilities.
The people of God in the Old Testament were worried that God has forsaken them, and rightly so, for they were always abandoning God’s Covenant with them. They easily and conveniently forgot the powerful deeds that God has done when He saved them from the cruelty of their slave drivers in Egypt. But their stubbornness was one of trying to live in two worlds at the same time: the world wherein they wanted God to be faithful to them without being faithful to the Covenant themselves, and the world wherein they wanted total freedom in their actions, forgetful that they have already been redeemed by God for Himself.
St. Paul was aware of the growing factionalism and the ever pressing problem of returning to pagan ways among the Corinthians. So, St. Paul had to urge them to remain faithful to the Body of Christ.
Jesus was concerned that His disciples were still anxious about worldly cares. In spite of everything they have witnessed, the disciples still could not comprehend the Lord’s ways, and did not understand that life was more precious than food and clothing, and that worrying could not add a single moment to their life-span (cf. Mt 6:27).
Jesus points out to us that He does not only teach, but He is the Message and the Truth; He does not only show the way, but is the Way; He does not only command us to love, but is the Love that embodies all the commands of God. Thus, despite our forgetfulness, distractedness and attachment to the world, God promises never to forget us (cf Is 49:15) and will take care of us more than the birds in the sky and the flowers of the field (cf. Mt 6:25ff), only if we remain trustworthy as servants of Christ and stewards of His mysteries (cf 1Cor 4:1).
We trust Mary, our Mother, to be always on our side to lead us to Jesus, to remind us that God is in-charge, and to strengthen us in our anxieties. We trust that the Eucharist will fill us and strengthen us, for the Lord is our Shepherd, there is nothing we shall want…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life (cf. Ps 23:1 & 6).