Today's gospel calls us to trust in God's loving providence. Please pray for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit by an earthquake last Tuesday around midday. The city was still recovering from an earthquake last September. 'Sufficient for a day it its own evil', the gospel tell us. May the people of Christchurch find God's love for them through their care for one another, through the practical help given from many parts of the world, and through their grief and courage.
Prayer for Mass In Time of Earthquake
God our Father,
you set the earth on its foundation.
Keep us safe from the danger of earthquakes
and let us always feel the presence of your love.
May we be secure in your protection and serve you with grateful hearts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Many Columbans are from New Zealand and the people of that country have supported us generously from the very beginning. They have given one Columban martyr to the Philippines, Fr Francis Vernon Douglas (above), who was tortured by Japanese military police in Paete, Rizal, probably because he refused to break the seal of confession. His body was never found but he is presumed to have died on 27 July 1943.
Readings (New American Bible, used in the Philippines and the USA)
Gospel (Mt 6:24-34, NAB)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
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 not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’
or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
On Holy Thursday 1990 I went to Holy Family Retreat House, Cebu City. It’s owned by the Redemptorists. As I was going in, a woman and her daughter, aged about 13, approached me and asked for help. I made an excuse, that I was only visiting, and went in.
After a while, through the glass door, I saw the two sitting on the step outside, the girl with her head on her mother’s shoulder, the two of them clearly tired and hungry. I felt some remorse and on my way out gave them enough to buy breakfast. The girl looked at me with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen and said, in Cebuano, ‘Salamat sa Ginoo!’, ‘Thanks to the Lord!’ She wasn’t thanking me but inviting me to join her and her mother to thank the Lord for his goodness.
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
JUST WHEN YOU THINK LIFE IS FOR THE BIRDS, TAKE HEART
Biblical Reflection for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time A
By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
TORONTO, FEB. 22, 2011 (Zenit.org).- In today's reading from Matthew's Gospel (6:25-34), Jesus does not deny the reality of human needs (v. 32), but forbids making them the object of anxious care and, in effect, becoming their slave.
Those who truly know God as the heavenly Father revealed by Jesus cannot be concerned about human needs in the same way. While disciples have to take reasonable care of themselves and of those for whom they are responsible, such concerns take second place to dedication to the rule of God and the "righteousness" (v. 33) for which it calls.
Verse 25 of today's Gospel indicates two major areas of concern for the human being: sustenance (food and drink) necessary for life, and clothing. Each of the areas is addressed -- food (vv. 26-27), clothing (vv. 28-30) -- in an argument that rests upon a New Testament logic. If God takes such care of the birds in the air, and ensures their feeding, and sees to it that the lilies of the field are magnificently adorned, how much more then will our heavenly Father take pains to see that the disciples shall not go wanting, since they are more precious in the divine sight than the birds of air and the flowers of the field?
In using this analogy, Jesus is by no means making a moral statement, but rather an imaginative appeal.
Full text here.
Notice the ongoing repair work after September's earthquake.