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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 27, 2011

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service


February 27, Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Isaiah 49:14-15

Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

2) 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34

It was a muggy afternoon in my 13th summer, and a popup thunderstorm had washed the highway on which we were traveling -- not enough, however, to remove all the oily dirt from the pavement. Our pickup truck skidded off the road into the ditch, flipping end over end twice before we could register what was happening.

In those days before mandatory seatbelt use, my siblings and I were thrown clear of the wreck, but my mother remained in the truck cab to be tossed about like a rag doll. She was five months pregnant.

The miracle was that we all not only survived but walked away without any broken bones or internal injuries. My little brother was born four months later at a strapping, healthy, 10 pounds.

I learned later that the amniotic fluid in which he was suspended protected him from injury during the accident, despite the trauma to my mother. Of course, once outside the womb's protection, he suffered an adventurous boy's usual quota of scrapes, mishaps and broken bones!

The prophet Isaiah uses the imagery of a mother's womb to describe the deeply compassionate love that God has for each of his children -- in fact, the words for "womb" and "compassion" share the same Hebrew root. It is God's protective love that sustains us and renders unnecessary our anxieties about clothing, food and drink. It shields us from worries about how we are judged by others. It puts our fears about the future in their proper perspective. When one is "in God," according to the psalmist, one "shall not be disturbed at all," for like babes in utero, we are surrounded on all sides by God's tender mercy.

My brother, like all humans entering the world, was expelled from the womb of his mother and had no choice but to be born. But the Gospel asserts that needless anxiety and worry are voluntary: When we entertain them, we choose to remove ourselves from the protective, consoling environment of God's love. Unlike our mother's womb, the "womb of God" is one which welcomes us to return, and in which we can deliberately and joyfully remain.

QUESTIONS:

What sorts of habitual worries and anxieties have kept you from the assurance of God's tenderness? How can you choose to remain in the "womb of God"?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all" (Psalm 62:3).

END



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