We are by nature prone to be anxious and troubled about many things.
In the Gospel, Jesus confronts us with our most common fears. We are anxious mostly about how we will meet our material needs — for food and drink; for clothing; for security for tomorrow.
Yet in seeking security and comfort, we may unwittingly be handing ourselves over to servitude to “mammon,” Jesus warns. “Mammon” is an Aramaic word that refers to money or possessions.
Jesus is not condemning wealth. Nor is he saying that we shouldn’t work to earn our daily bread or to make provisions for our future.
It is a question of priorities and goals. What are we living for? Where is God in our lives?
Jesus insists that we need only to have faith in God and to trust in his providence.
The readings pose a challenge to us. Do we really believe that God cares for us, that he alone can provide for all our needs?
Do we believe that he loves us more than a mother loves the infant at her breast, as God himself promises in this week’s beautiful first reading? Do we really trust that he is our rock and salvation, as we sing in the psalm?
Jesus calls us to an intense realism about our lives. For all our worrying, none of us change the span of our days. None of us has anything that we have not received as a gift from God (see 1 Corinthians 4:7).
St. Paul reminds us in the epistle that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of every heart.
We cannot serve both God and mammon. We must choose one or the other. Our faith cannot be partial. We must put our confidence in him and not be shaken by anxiety.
Let us resolve today to seek his kingdom and his holiness before all else — confident that we are beloved sons and daughters, and that our Father in heaven will never forsake us.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.