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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, March 2, 2014

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service


March 2, Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A. Readings:

1) Isaiah 49:14-15

Psalm 62:2-3, 6-9

2) 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34

It's been awhile since I've had a newborn at home, but there is one thing I remember about infants: When they're wet, they cry. When they're hungry, they cry. When they're sleepy, they cry. They don't wonder about how those needs will be met because their parents' quick responses assure them that they are cared for.

Not so as we get older. Our entire process of maturation is directed toward becoming less dependent on our parents and gradually becoming self-sufficient. While this is ostensibly a good thing, we also can become fixated on fulfilling our trivial needs and wants.

I was reminded of this recently when I visited one of the world's most revered Christian places, the Church of the Agony in Jerusalem, site of Jesus' anguished prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

Even as I prayed before the ancient stone where his sweat had fallen as drops of blood, my restless mind started wandering: "Did I pack the umbrella in case of rain? Wonder what the hotel is preparing for dinner this evening? Where will I find an electric outlet to charge my cellphone?"

The irony of this self-centered train of thought in such sublime surroundings was not lost on me. I was ready to react in my usual way, berating myself for getting distracted during prayer. But then Isaiah's words countered: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?"

I thought, would I rebuke my newborn for crying when she is hungry? Would I take personal offense at my sleepy toddler's "selfishness"?

The Lord knows the motives of my heart as well as my tendency to be easily distracted. He's probably less offended by my human weakness than he is concerned about the toll that excessive worry takes on my spirit and my capacity to seek first his kingship and righteousness.

Worry and anxiety are not sinful in themselves. More harmful is our tendency to indulge them or, at the other extreme, to condemn ourselves for being human.

St. Paul reminds me not to "make any judgment before the appointed time" and that even then it's the Lord's place to judge -- not mine. Until then, I'll gently poke fun at my distracted self and pick up that Hail Mary where I left off.

QUESTIONS:

Do you find yourself easily distracted by trivial things? How can you put your needs in proper perspective and depend on the Lord's loving care?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'" -- Matthew 6:31

END



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