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Don't Worry, Be Happy

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland


March 2, 2014
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 49:14-15
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6:24-34

Almost all of us are familiar with the popular song from the late 1980s, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The other day, it played on my car radio and the person with me remarked, “Easy for him to say!” As cynical as it might seem, it is common for us to think that others don’t know our troubles. I can easily imagine individuals who have lost a job, been upside down on their mortgage or suffered a variety of other economic ailments thinking exactly that when they hear today’s Gospel. Resolving the tension between our faith in God's providence and the window envelopes in today's mail is not always easy.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to look at the readings from another point of view. Perhaps we have never needed to hear this message as badly as we do today. The trust that the epistle speaks of is a trust that God has in us and we ought to have in him. The goods of the earth are given to us so that we might care for them and for one another. Each of us is an administrator. When goods are scarce, we determine priorities. Luxuries are separated from need. “Making do” can become a way of life even as we share what we have. While gourmet columnists praise the radical chic of serving vegetables as a main course and nutritionists tell us how our health will be improved, there are those who long ago began walking past the meat counter because of dwindling funds. Still others live in urban food deserts without access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. We need to care for them.

Still, it is not only those suffering economic hardship who worry. Others fret because of what might happen. These are the individuals to whom the Gospel is most especially directed. Their fears outweigh their faith; their thoughts are directed inward.

Our concern for the material needs of the day should lead us to wonder about the goal of life. The key to God’s providence lies in our search for the kingdom and in our hunger for justice. God provides what is lasting. When our concern is focused on achieving right relationships in our communities, the needs of others will be our concern and we will be instruments of God’s providence. Being able to trust in others is often the foundation for our belief in the goodness and providence of God. God provides what is lasting. We have the promise of resurrection and of future .We move to the altar with a new conviction and a new concern. God will care for our most important needs and we will care for each other.







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