Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time


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“No one can be the slave of two masters …”

 

We assemble with all our personal cares, concerns and worries – about finance, health, employment, relationships, examinations, to mention but a few. We hear the words of Jesus telling us not to worry, not to worry about what to eat, drink or wear. He advises us to look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and we feel out of tune with him. Is Jesus serious? Isn’t this simply starry-eyed idealism? What has this to say to real people in this age of anxiety who are struggling to make even the most meagre ends meet, to people who have been made redundant, to people in fear of losing their homes?

 

Really, the clue to understanding this passage lies in the first few words: “no one can be the slave of two masters”. The very use of the word “slave” suggests a challenge to us to examine our most fundamental values. It speaks of being dominated by someone or something. Who or what really matters most in my life? What has my ultimate attention? Jesus is telling us that we cannot serve God with a divided heart. He is putting before us the need to make a basic decision to ‘love God above all things’. He gives us the same message later in this passage when he exhorts us to “set your hearts on God’s kingdom first, and on his righteousness”.

 

God first, says Jesus, but not alone. He does not expect us to be unconcerned about all else. He well knows that we can be weighed down by a host of concerns, subject to a thousand and one cares. But he does ask us, amid all life’s cares and concerns, to put God always and unambiguously in the first place, and not to allow our worries to so preoccupy our minds that there remains no place for God. Our heavenly Father knows us and all our needs. Our lives are covered by his love. We come to him as we are – worries and all.