Monday, October 2, 2017

October 8, 2017 - Have No Anxiety

The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - A

Reading I:  Isaiah 5: 1-7

Psalm:  80

Reading II:
Philippians 4:6-9

Gospel:  Matthew 21:33-43

In view of our current situation in the world today, I have chosen this week to focus on the Second Reading from St. Paul to the Philippians. In the midst of many hardships, imprisonment, and threats of violence himself, St. Paul writes an encouraging letter to the Philippians: “Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Being a worrier by nature,  I am challenged to put my trust in the Lord. In fact, I am currently attempting to memorize the above quote from St. Paul. In my head, I know that the Lord will be with us no matter what happens in our world. However, I do have to admit that I find it difficult to quiet my anxious heart when I hear people refusing to believe in global warming in spite of the catastrophic weather events of our recent times. Instead of facing the reality and changing some of our human behaviors, self-destructive choices continue to be made. These are negatively affecting us now and will be a disastrous legacy to leave
our descendants. 

The threats of nuclear war hanging over us. The whole world will be affected by the bomb fallout if some were to press the button either intentionally or by misunderstanding. A Japanese doctor of mine shared with me his mother’s experience. She was a child in a town not far from Hiroshima, Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped which ended the World War II. Even though his mother was not killed at the time, she suffered from one type of cancer or another all her life. That was back in 1945. Today’s bombs are most like much more destructive.

What St. Paul tells us is to link worry to prayer.  It does no good to
deny that worry is there. It is an invitation to lean on the Lord and trust in Him. That didn’t mean that bad times will not come to us. However, we do not have to go through them alone. Jesus walks beside and/or carries us through it all.

Blessed am I that I can look out my window and see many birds flying above. They fly with abandon and in all different directions. They often sing beautiful songs trusting in their Creator. Nothing hems them in because they are free spirits. Unknowingly, they remind me, like St. Paul, to “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

 Reflection:   (Scripture passage above) 

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

No Tenga Ansiedad

En vista de nuestra situación actual en el mundo de hoy, he escogido esta semana para centrarse en la Segunda Lectura de San Pablo a los Filipenses. En medio de muchas penalidades, encarcelamientos y amenazas de violencia, San Pablo escribe una carta alaborativa a los filipenses: “Hermanos y hermanas: No tengáis angustia en absoluto, sino que en todo, con oración y súplica, con acción de gracias, haced sus peticiones conocidas a Dios. Entonces la paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús”.

Siendo un preocupado por naturaleza, estoy desafiado a poner mi confianza en el Señor. De hecho, actualmente estoy tratando de memorizar la cita anterior de San Pablo. En mi cabeza, sé que el Señor estará con nosotros, pase lo que pase en nuestro mundo. Sin embargo, tengo que admitir que me resulta difícil calmar mi ansioso corazón cuando oigo gente negándose a creer en el calentamiento global a pesar de los catastróficos eventos climáticos de nuestros tiempos recientes. En lugar de enfrentar la realidad y cambiar algunos de nuestros comportamientos humanos, las elecciones autodestructivas continúan haciéndose. Esto nos está afectando negativamente ahora y será un legado desastroso para dejar a nuestros descendientes.

Las amenazas de una guerra nuclear que se cierne sobre nosotros. El mundo entero se verá afectado por las consecuencias de la bomba si algunos presionan el botón intencionalmente o por malentendido. Un médico japonés mío compartió conmigo la experiencia de su madre. Ella era una niña en una ciudad no muy lejos de Hiroshima, Japón, cuando se cayó la bomba atómica que puso fin a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. A pesar de que su madre no fue asesinada en ese momento, sufría de un tipo de cáncer u otro durante toda su vida. Eso fue en 1945. Bombas de hoy son más como mucho más destructivo.

Lo que San Pablo nos dice es vincular la preocupación a la oración. No sirve de nada negar que la preocupación está ahí. Es una invitación a apoyarse en el Señor y confiar en Él. Eso no significa que los malos tiempos no vienen a nosotros. Sin embargo, no tenemos que pasar por ellos solos. Jesús camina al lado y / o nos lleva a través de todo.

Bendito soy que puedo mirar por mi ventana y ver muchos pájaros volando por encima. Ellos vuelan con abandono y en diferentes direcciones. A menudo cantan hermosas canciones confiando en su Creador. Nada los golpea porque son espíritus libres. Sin saberlo, me recuerdan, como San Pablo, “No tengas angustia, sino que en todo, con oración y súplica, con acción de gracias, haz conocer tus peticiones a Dios”.  (Filipenses 4: 6-7)

  Reflexión:  (Scripture passage above) 


  1. Sr. Therese MW. SBSOctober 3, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    Very true! The uncountable evils in the world today could seem unbearably overwhelming, but we know Who is always available for help. Your reminder that "Jesus walks beside us/carries us through the bad times" is delightfully encouraging, Sister.

    St. Francis de Sales gave the following advice:

    "Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life. Rather, look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in his arms.

    Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same understanding father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace and put aside your anxious thoughts and imaginations."

    The following prayer was composed by Pope John Paul II:

    "Lord Jesus who are called the "Prince of Peace", who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, "Peace be to you", grant us peace on earth. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May longed for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all."

  2. Dear Sr. Therese Mary, Thank you for your helpful comment. Especially, I love the quote from St.Francis de Sales.

  3. Sr. Annette, your expression of concern regarding the potential of a nuclear war weighs heavy on the minds and hearts of many of us. Just a few days ago, I sat in a doctor’s waiting room with my mother. The room was filled with people and the news was on the television in the room. A segment came on about the situation between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and my mother’s eyes filled up with tears. Her reaction was noticed by others and a conversation started about fear of nuclear war. I still remember a paper I wrote in high school about the immorality of the nuclear arms race - stating that it is a race to nowhere and everybody loses. That nations continue to wage such threats knowing full well the catastrophic consequences of the atomic bomb is heart-wrenching. We stand in disbelief that leaders engage is such polarization reinforcing the mentality of “us against them.”
    Conflict has been with us since the beginning of time – discord within the tribe, within the family, between neighbors, amongst nations... Today’s situation is a crisis because nations hold on to a tribal approach while possessing weapons of mass destruction. It is easy to point fingers at the leaders stating that it is their fault that we are in such a mess, but the reality is that the political leaders are verbalizing and acting out the turbulence which exists in the minds and hearts of the people. Mahatma Gandhi said that we must, “Be the change we want to see in the world.” Mankind needs a change in consciousness on a massive scale. Christians, in particular, must assume responsibility for bringing a high level of consciousness to all our conversations and in all our actions. The media loves melodrama; we desire peace. As you point out, prayer should be our first resort.
    Pastor Miley Palmer, in an article, “Christian Responses to War,” writes, “Prayer is the place we begin to soften our hearts, to open them to God and neighbor, including our enemies and those who persecute us. It is where we look inward at our own fears, hurts, disappointments, hopes for meaning, and longings for security. It is the place we first confront our own violence and the potential in us for “war” to break out in words, deeds, attitudes, and actions. In prayer, we reveal our thoughts and behavior to God. We make confession and acknowledge our brokenness and separation. We seek to mend our ways, heal our hearts, and pursue different paths and patterns in the future. There is transformative power in this prayer… In prayer we intercede for others. Our praying surrounds them with God’s love and peace when they may not be fully able to do so on their own. ..When concerned about a situation of conflict, local or global, prayer is a way to respond with hope and healing…”
    Palmer considers the pursuit of peace a lifestyle option. As we work to form a peaceful heart, it will become noticeable in all our relationships and interactions with others. Our words and actions will reflect respect and forgiveness. “To nurture the peaceful heart is to root ourselves in relationship with God and neighbor and learn to dwell in the community of God’s creation as healthy human beings. To pursue peace in the world is to be willing to struggle with the complex issues of our time from this foundation in God.”
    Rev. Palmer includes a prayer I’d like to share: “O God, you love justice and you establish peace on earth. We bring before you the disunity of today’s world: the absurd violence, and the many wars which are breaking the courage of the peoples of the world; militarism and the armaments race, which are threatening life on the planet; human greed and injustice, which breed hatred and strife. Send your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Teach us to be compassionate toward the whole human family; strengthen the will of all those who fight for justice and for peace; lead all nations into the path of peace, and give us that peace which the world cannot give.” Amen.
    Pat C.,ASBS

  4. Dear Pat, Thanks for reminding us that peace can begin with each one of us.