Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will 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 of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to look into two issues about choice. The first issue about choice is loyalty and the second issue is how to make choice. In today’s world, we are constantly exposed to these two issues. The commercial world also knows the importance of these two issues. That is why they spend so much in advertising and marketing with the hope that they can influence our loyalty and choice.
We can see today’s Gospel in two parts. The first part is about the purpose of our choices while the second part the means of our choices. The purpose of our choices is in reality about our loyalty. In a democratic society, if we are loyal to a political party or a political figure, it is very likely that we would vote for that party or that person.
Thus, Jesus reminds us: “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” This reminder sounds very harsh to many people, in fact, most people. Money is indeed necessary for us to pursue our goals, to name a few, a better living space, a better car, a better school for our kids, a better education for our own selves so that we can move further up to our career ladder, or more donation to support the church, etc.. All these do not sound very bad. To most people’s understanding, if the money I make is for the good causes, it will glorify God as well.
However, what we should take particular notice is the word “slave” used by Jesus in his reminder. The word “slave” donated the meaning of “being not free”. A person enjoys no freedom. When a person is not free to choose, what he chooses may not be what he actually wanted or desired. Jesus invites us to be free in our choices. We cannot attain freedom, if we are slaves. The only way to be free is to choose God.
What keeps us away from choosing God is our worrying. Nowadays, we are worrying about almost everything. If we are not worrying, the media and other people will remind us that we should worry about this or that. Worrying is form of fear. It causes our anxieties. And anxieties lead to depression. But, Jesus invites us not to worry about our life, what to eat or what to drink, or about your body, what to wear. He further assures us that indeed our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things.
From his assurance, Jesus implies that it is not that we should give up all these things that we need to live, but give up our attitude of depending on these things for our lives. Thus, he adds, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus calls on us to have a right relationship with God first. If we do enjoy such a right relationship with our God, everything will fall into its right place, whether it is our relationship with others, or our relationship with the world.
Pray that God give us the grace to have a right relationship with Him. Amen.