Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
June 18th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel passage is filled with beautiful imagery with which we are familiar: lilies, wild flowers, birds. Philosophy calls these non-rational beings, for they lack the ability to reason as humans do. In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses these images to show us the omnipotence of God. These creatures do not reap or sow or spin, yet God takes care of them. How much more, He says, will not God provide for us, whom He has created in His own image and given immortal souls with which to glorify Him forever?
“Do not worry about tomorrow,” Christ says. For years, the Church has spoken of a growing “culture of fear” present in our world, which has become especially obvious in recent years. Suicide rates have skyrocketed, violence is widespread, and Christians are increasingly losing their freedoms throughout the world. Fear, stress, and worry have simply become a part of life for our world.
Yet in the midst of this, Jesus tells us not to worry: “[S]eek ye first the Kingdom of God and [H]is righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” A holy priest whom I know once explained that this promise of Jesus is directly connected with God’s omnipotence. Because God is all-powerful, everything is under His care. Because He is omniscient or all-knowing, God knows what is best in every situation. Our human rationality is only finite; we have very limited vantage points and cannot see or comprehend everything that God knows in His infinite wisdom. For this reason, we sometimes do not understand why God permits certain situations to turn out the way they do.
This is where faith comes into play. As the priest explained further, if we can learn to trust in God’s wisdom and power, firmly believing that He always knows what is best, then we can have peace. If we “seek first the Kingdom of God,” trusting that everything comes from the hand of God as part of His holy Will, we will then be at peace and not fruitlessly worry.
This, of course, is easier said than done; it is no easy task to stop oneself from worrying, especially in today’s culture of fear. However, it is possible through the grace of God. We must strive to keep our focus always on attaining the Kingdom of Heaven, remembering that everything else is secondary and under God’s undying protection. May today’s Gospel serve as a source of hope to us in our fear, reminding us that God is ever watching over us and protecting us; we need only trust in Him, and we can have peace.
Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him. That is all the doing you have to worry about. ~ Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
(Image by Stan Shebs on WikiMedia, Creative Commons)
Great reflection and perspective. I think this is exactly how the Saints think and act!
I tend to feel a great deal of fear an anxiety at times. This is in large part due to PTSD, so there are a variety of external factors at play, yet at the same time, whenever I remember the message you've given us today, God's peace always replaces the fear. I just have to remember to remember more often ... And pray about it more often!