Homily for the eighth Sunday of the year

Year A  -  Mt 6:24-34


by

  Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 

 

" Jesus continued his sermon on the mount: «No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. 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 which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious 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 arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.» "



Homily:


" Jesus continued his sermon on the mount: 'No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?' "


Jesus is still teaching his disciples on the mount. In the part of his sermon we are reading today, Jesus is trying to convince us that we must practice prudence and humility in order to attain that trust that should be ours: trust in Divine Providence.


Prudence is the mother of all the virtues. Prudence is the virtue that allows he who practices it to order all of his actions so that none of them might suffer from exaggeration: he who is prudent will be balanced in all his actions, avoiding both too much and too little. In particular, here, Jesus recommends to his disciples, and thus also to us, not to be anxious about food, drink, or clothing: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on." For to be anxious, or to worry, is an exaggeration, a truly disordered action.


" 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? "


To prudence, Jesus immediately adds humility. Is it not a little humbling to have to take as the example of our conduct that of the animals, such as the birds that our heavenly Father feeds in his great benevolence? For while we are animated like the animals, we are nevertheless superior to these beings who, while sometimes gifted with very developed instincts, are totally lacking in intelligence, contrary to us, who have a spiritual soul.


" And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? "


What a lesson in humility! It is useless for our spirit or soul to fill itself with pride: it would do nothing to lengthen our earthly life. For the soul is always limited by the body, although it must always seek to dominate it. Let us call to mind that other event, such a fateful one: the fall of the Angels (cf. Rev. 12:7). The angels not having bodies, some among them, such as Lucifer, filled themselves with pride and refused to serve God and his Christ, the Word made flesh.


" But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. "


Let us have faith, let us ask God for the grace of an ever greater and deeper faith, for with our soul turned to the realities of Heaven, it will dominate ever more our body and its earthly inclinations! Thanks to faith, we will ceaselessly be seeking for the kingdom of God, practicing prudence and humility! Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for the grace of such a faith!