Homily for 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year A

Trust In God’s Divine Providence

Readings: (1st: Ish 49, 14-15; Ps 61, 2-3. 6-9; 2nd: 1Cor 4, 1-5; Gos: Matt 6, 24-34)           

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

This Sunday, the church calls us to trust in God’s divine providence and love. This is because God’s love and arms protect us. God is ever close to us whether we know it, or not. He cares for us even in a manner that a nursing mother may not care for her baby.

Hence, in today’s first reading, Isaiah employs the metaphor of a mother to capture the love and caring nature of God. The historical context of our first reading was Israel in exile. Today, our situation is not better than that of Israel of Isaiah’s day. Our world is plunged into a deep crisis. At times, this makes our future to look gloomy. So, in a sense, and to some extent, we are exiled. For this reason, some of us are in despair, and hopeless by thinking: “The Lord has abandoned me,” I am alone. No, you are not alone, my dear friend!

Today’s message is that of hope that God can and will make our future bright and better. In Isaiah 42, 14, the prophet presents God as “pregnant and giving birth.” In 66:12-13, he portrays God as “nursing and comforting her newborn.” Today, God assures us that even if it is possible for a human mother to forget, and show no compassion for her child: I will not forget you!” This is a personal promise. God will not forget us because, our names are engraved on the palms of His hands (Ish 44:5). We are part of His identity.

In the second reading, Paul draws our attention to what should matter to us. This is the fact that we are: “Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God.” So, rather than worry things that do not matter much, we should strive to be “worthy of God’s trust.” Though we are not perfect, we should abandon ourselves to God. So, what should bother us is how to please God. To do this we must place our hope in him, and in his divine providence. He will supply the grace we need to do this. So, rather than seek or trust in human praise and favor, let us relax in God’s hands until he makes all that is hidden clear to us.

In today’s gospel, Matthew employed different creatures like birds, flowers, and grasses to admonish us to place our trust in God’s divine providence and love. In a special way, Jesus re-echo’s the promise and assurance of God to us in the first reading. He says: “Do not worry,” do not drive your own future, and do not trust in the riches of this world. Rather, trust in God’s providence!” He says this because, he knows that worry only makes our life miserable. On the other hand, trust in God’s divine providence strengthens us.

Peter tells us: “Caste all your burdens upon him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5, 7). Worry only weakens us, and adds nothing to our life. Instead, it tears up our physical and spiritual fabrics. It reduces the quality of our life. Hence, Christ asks us today: “…Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” Obviously, the answer is: No!  

To trust in the divine providence of God is not easy. This is especially, when we have an urgent need, and when we are faced with a situation that frustrates us. We can become aggressive and repulsive. These are all genuine expressions of our situation as human beings. However, in spite of all these, the best expressions that will help us as Christians are patience and trust in God’s divine providence.

Therefore, it is better to surrender in perfect trust to God who is capable of taking care of us. So, instead of worrying ourselves to death, let us proclaim like the psalmist: “In God alone is my soul at rest, my help comes from him. He alone is my rock and my stronghold…!

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!!

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