Jesus taught his disciples, saying: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will 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 of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
In very recent times it has become common to hear of mental wellbeing. Before the Covid pandemic many of those things that we now consider to be damaging to this important aspect of our humanity were labelled as personal weaknesses that we should just ‘get over’. Since the long periods of isolation that were enforced upon us, we have come to realise just how fragile our mental wellbeing is. Even though lockdowns are, mercifully, a thing of the past, there are those whose lives may never recover from their effects. Many have come to live in a world dominated by anxiety and fear. For the sake of convenience, that anxiety and fear can be summed up in one simple word: worry. Worry nags away at every aspect of our lives. Worry is a parasite that eats its way into the way in which we view the world. Worry strikes to the very core of our wellbeing. Worry creates a gulf between ourselves and God, the God who said: do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
When reflecting upon Jesus’ words we should take note that he is not telling us to throw caution to the wind. Rather, he is telling us to focus on the here and now, and not on the past and the future. So many people find, in later life, that they have wasted so much time obsessing about the wrong things. They have focused their attention on regrets about past words and actions, or they have based every decision upon what they have presumed the future may hold for them. Such backward and forward looking foci have all missed the point of the time we are allotted on this earth. We are born, in the image of God, to make a difference in the here and the now. We are called to zero in on the issues of the moment, the present, and not on that which is over and done with or that which is nothing other than pure speculation.
In today’s reading Jesus offers us some perspective in these matters. He speaks of God’s creatures who are provided with food and clothes through the grace of God alone. He invites us to learn from what we see around us in our everyday lives, and he invites us to trust in God’s grace. Too often we fail to trust God, resting in our own self-sufficiency, but that self-sufficiency is never enough. As it breaks down around us, so our anxieties grow, our mental wellbeing is damaged and our relationship with God becomes one of distance rather than intimacy.
Today we should be praying that we might set aside those worldly worries over which we have no control in order that we might follow the way that God has prepared for us. We should be praying for the strength to turn our backs on all that is superficial and rooted in this world. We should be praying that we might leave the past and the future in God’s hands as we live our lives to the full in the here and the now.
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