Homily – Sunday, the 12th February 2023
Reading: Matthew 6: 25-34
Do we worry too much in life?
It is easier said than done- Do not worry about your life. But we know that several of us, if not all struggle with some worry or the other.
Anxieties that cause worry could vary. For some it could be health concerns, for some concern about relationships, some about finances, some about children, some about the future, some about the loses, the list can go on.
Here the gospel writer talks about what will you eat, what will you drink and what will you wear?
We read this text today in the context of a devastative earth quake in Turkey and Syria where thousands of people lost all that they had. There are thousands weeping, crying and worrying. The weather in inclement and it affects relief. While Turkey is indeed getting some international aid, the territories in Syria under resisting regimes are finding it hard to fetch supplies.
We read this text today in the context of the war in Ukraine completing one year. Thousands are crying and worrying- both in Ukraine and as refugees in several parts of the world.
We read this text in the context of the Valentine’s Day and the discussion around the Dinner for One. People are worried about Love.
We read this text in a context where more and more people are having to seek professional and medical help to deal with worry.
We are not talking about medical ailments like depression but about our nature of worrying.
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”.
William Barkley has an interesting story about wealth and worry. A rich king could not sleep and was amazed at his gardener snoring off. He wanted to reward the gardener and gave him a gold coin. That night the sound of snoring was not heard. The next when asked the gardener said- I could not sleep because I was worried someone would steal the coin.
Today I would want to draw your attention to some crucial questions on the ABCDE of dealing with worry:
-A- The Anchor in Life
Do we have an anchor in life? Claiming to be Christians can we boldly say that Christ is the anchor of my Life.
Matthew asks this question- Do you know that you have a God who considers you very precious. 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?
“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
We read in Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek
What is the function of an anchor? anchors are used to combat wind and currents that want to move the vessel off course.
When we truly have our life anchored in Christ, whatever be the storms we would be able to stay put in the sea.
We are precious.
How do we know that we are precious
In Exodus 33:15 in the conversation with God as they embark on the journey to freedom through the wilderness Moses says something significant. “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people and that we are precious in your eyes unless you go with us?
The Presence of God, Jesus as the Anchor and the Holy Spirit as the Navigator. That is the beauty of Christian Life.
-B- The Balance in Life,
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? So balance your life well.
When we talk of balancing life I want to draw your attention to three major aspects
- Work- Life Balance
- Life roles balance
- Life Spirituality balance
Work Life Balance
…is crucial for a healthy engagement with living.
Ricardo Semler’s book The Seven Day Weekend which dealt with changing the way work works was recently revisited in the context of the massive loss of jobs in corporates.
Several people who lost their jobs realised that in the losing of their jobs they had lost their lives too. When emails and messages and office paper work invaded our private spaces at homes we thought we were becoming workaholic and forgot that there is beyond work in life.
When we are too worried about work we must be reminded of what the Dalai Lama once said- “If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.”
Life role balance
…is as important. Even as we are all employees we also have family roles We are sons and daughters, spouses, fathers and mothers, friends, neighbours, colleagues, parishioners and each of those comes with responsibilities that we are called to balance.
It is not merely about time management, it is about life management.
It is always good to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses and then try to address them in each of these roles.
When we think of Shakespearean tragedies there is always a tragic flaw in the protagonist that offset the balance and rhythm of life. For Hamlet it was procrastination- To be or not to be. For Macbeth it was Excessive Ambition, for Othello it is jealousy, for Romeo it is impulsive emotions. In all classic tragedies we find that. For Oedipus Rex- it was excessive pride, for Frankensteine it was perfectionism and what is it for you and me- the hamartia that causes the worrying.
Life – Spirituality Balance
It is also good to think of the balance of your inner life- your spiritual life, your prayer life, your tuning yourself to the standards and expectations of the creator.
Your teachers will talk to you about your intellectual health, your boss would talk to you or your professional well-being, your physician would talk to you of your physical health and the need of exercises.
Our parents and our pastors talk to us about spiritual health- prayer life, meditating on the Word, Worship, Witness, Service
And it is for each one of us to find the balance between all these important element.
Worry finds it inroad through the weakest defence line in your lives. Yes love what you are doing- but love it wholistically.
-C- The Choices in Life
It is about choosing to believe in a God who will take care, come what may or just not to.
At one of our meetings this week we asked a very pertinent question- why is it that our children are not interested in God or the God talk.
The Choice to Believe and the Choice not to.
When this choice is set before us- why is it that most people chose not to believe in God and even if they believe in God chose to distance themselves from the church.
And why do you worry 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 clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Will not God take care of you and your needs?
In a community that meets most needs of people why is it that we end up not needing to have the companionship with God.
S. Nursi once said “Worry is itself an illness, since worry is an accusation against Divine Wisdom, a criticism of Divine Mercy.”
It fails to see the design of the divine in all that happens in our life and fails to comprehend the divine mercy that is able to carry us through.
I always think of the phrase- O Ye of Little faith. Jesus used it only to address his closest disciples.
Friends our choices often defines the way we look at worry in our lives.
The Direction in Life
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and hisrighteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
What is your direction in life?
Is it the kingdom of God that we seek first
“No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” (Roy T. Bennett)
Seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness comes with a reward- all that is required for a meaningful life will then be given unto you.
The Kingdom is both an experience here and now and a goal for the future. It decides the way you live and the direction in which you walk.
Kingdom of God is about the values of life.
We think of St. Valentine this week. When Emperor Claudius Gothicus persecuted Christians and banned priests from marrying them Father Valentine dared to help people get married. Some of them even escaped being taken into the army because of marriage. Claudius tried to persuade him to relinquish faith but instead he shared the love of Christ to Claudius who executed him. His day of martyrdom is celebrated as the Day of Lovers.
Recognising those who are single is as important as celebrating love. That is the kingdom value behind the “Dinner for One” Come as Singles.
Recognising the pain of others is as important in the kingdom value. That’s why we pray for Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and continue to do what is possible.
Engaging with the Kingdom takes away our worries for miracles continue to happen in the Kingdom of God.
The Enough is Enough in Life
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
We are often told- Do not allow anxieties of tomorrow to steal the joys of today. Do not take the troubles of today to the morrow.
Focus on living fully in the present
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” (Corrie Ten Boom)
Are we worried!
The message today is simple- Enough is Enough. Just hold on to God.
You and I are precious in the eyes of God and God will take care.
The Church, you and I, are called to reach out to those worrying around us and sing to them- Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Amen
February 12, 2023
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