“DO not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” — (Matthew 6:34)
It’s not easy to let go and allow God to take charge of our lives.
“It’s easier said than done,” we always say. It’s because we want to control the situations and be clear about the decisions of our lives.
The Scripture Readings this Sunday take on this theme of trust. In the Gospel, Jesus told his disciples, “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” Then he added, “Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”
The First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that just as a mother cannot forget her son, our Father in heaven would never abandon us. He takes care of us with deep love and tenderness.
But how do we practice this total abandonment to God’s care and providence? How do we remove fears and anxieties from our minds? The answers are in the simple words of Padre Pio: “Pray and hope.”
Through prayer we allow the Holy Spirit to calm our fears and give us words that strengthen our hearts. Through hope we rest our minds in knowing that all things pass, tomorrow will be better, and God will take care of the rest.
The Psalm this Sunday is an example of a beautiful prayer to help us in our moments of anxieties and weakness: “Only in God is my soul at rest; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed. Only in God be at rest, my soul, for from him comes my hope. He only is my rock and my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.” (Psalm 62)
Repeating or singing this kind of psalm that expresses faith and hope emboldens us to face our challenges. This form of prayer lifts us up from fear and helps us live the day.
Hoping in God means not making ourselves to be the center of our lives. At times it’s staying out of God’s way to allow him to do His work. The master or the “mammon” of our lives is only one– God. When we allow him to “master” us we become docile and peaceful. We choose God and feed on His generosity.
I remember a testimony of my friend, Fr. Alex Aclan, who has the difficult job of assigning priests to many parishes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He shared with me that once he was terribly worried about not finding a Japanese-speaking priest for the Japanese community of Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. Then one day a Vietnamese priest showed up in his office and declared that he speaks Japanese because he spent long years of studies and missionary work in Japan. Fr. Alex was astounded to realize that it was God who sent this priest to his office. “I just need to allow God to do his work, and from that experience, I don’t worry much anymore,” he said.
Of course, it’s a human tendency to worry. Who does not worry about health, job security and education, family and friends? But when we let worries consume us, we become imprisoned in ourselves. Worries lead to not nothing and only feelings of being forsaken.
Let’s trust in God at all times. Let’s pour our hearts before him. Let nothing disturb us. Let’s allow God to be the Master of our lives!
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From a Filipino immigrant family, Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s Seminary in 1991. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Augustine, Culver City (1991-1993); St. Martha, Valinda (1993-1999); and St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park (1999-2001). In 2001, he served as Administrator Pro Tem of St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, CA, until his appointment as pastor of ImmAaculate Heart of Mary, Los Angeles, in 2002, which lasted 12 years. His term as Associate Director of Pastoral Field Education at St. John’s Seminary began in July 2014.