Friday, June 17, 2016


Homily for June 18th, 2016: Matthew 6:24-34.

          “Do not worry about your life,” Jesus says, nor about what you will eat, drink, and wear. In Jesus’ day Galilee, where he spoke those words, was relatively prosperous. Were he speaking in a region of dire poverty, like many places in the Third World today, his words would seem heartless, and he would have spoken differently. The Greek word translated “worry” really means “be concerned about,” or “be preoccupied with.”

          Jesus uses examples from nature to encourage trust in God’s care. The people who first heard Jesus’ words lived close to nature. When he spoke about the birds, they knew how hard birds work. A collection of photos of birds’ nests that landed in my e-mail box recently showed intricate constructions that must have required weeks to build.

          Jesus goes on to speak about the beauty of nature, exemplified by wildflowers. His hearers did not live, like so many today, in concrete jungles. They looked out daily on God’s handiwork. Jesus’ conclusion: “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not

worry  …”

          Here is what a man of science says about worry. Dr. Charles H. Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, writes: “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.”

What is the cure for worry? I know none better than the message of an evangelical hymn:

Cast your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace

O soul are you weary and troubled? / No light in the darkness to see
There's light for a look at the Savior / And life more abundant and free

His words shall not fail you, He promised / Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying / His perfect salvation to tell.