End, and of course, beginning, too, of our seeking
Jesus is the beginning and the end of our efforts to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Christians should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. To make sure we start out well and end successfully, all we need to do is follow Jesus.
Jesus begins his public ministry confirming the preaching of his Forerunner: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” So then, needless to say, we who claim to be his disciples will begin well by taking repentance as our starting-point.
And Jesus concretizes the meaning of repentance. It is to put him ahead of our nets, boats and immediate relatives even.
Repentance means agreement with the one who proclaims blessed what this age considers accursed. He appoints us as salt of the earth and light of the world, part of the solution, not the problem. He also expects our righteousness to be so radical that it reflects divine perfection. Moreover, he demands sincere almsgiving, prayer and fasting.
The model par excellence for those who seek the Kingdom of God to the end
Jesus is not at all like the wealthy who burn themselves out amassing riches. He warns, in fact, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” His poverty is, effectively, a judgment against the greedy who always see to it that they have more than what they have already hoarded. His simple lifestyle condemns also those who wear themselves out looking for greater comfort. He upholds as well the freeing principle that wealth is for human beings.
That is why our Teacher is not among the teachers who love money and mock his warning. But mockery does not stop him from carrying out till the end his mission to evangelize the poor.
Yes, the Poor One is the Good News to the poor. He encourages them, saying that they are more important than the birds and the lilies. Our heavenly Father takes care of the birds and the lilies; undoubtedly, he takes care, too, of the poor.
And his example proves his teaching. The start of his ministry shows that he goes to work right away; trust in God does not mean idleness. He goes around “all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.”
Yet he works joyfully and peacefully, without worrying. And that is so, since his trust in Providence assures him that those who seek find in the end.
Do we trust so? Specifically, do we really trust that God never forgets us? Are we faithful servants of Christ besides? Or do we worry more about our interests and possessions (see SV.EN III:527)?
Lift us up, Lord, through the memorial of your passion and the pledge of the awaited glorious end.
February 26, 2017
8th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Is 49, 14-15; 1 Cor 4, 1-5; Mt 6, 24-34