Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
EIGHTH SUNDAY IN Ordinary Time
A little girl, by the name of Regina, was very sick. She was three years old – and all of sudden, she couldn’t keep anything in her tummy. Everything her mom and dad feed her – up it came. She was getting weaker and thinner by the day.
They went to so many doctors… this one and that one. Finally, one of the doctors said that he knew what the problem was – but that it would take some time, and a lot of care to cure the little girl. The parents would have to feed her a special diet, small portions (every hour of the day and night) until she got well again. The parents said that they would gladly do it. They took shifts, preparing the food, and feeding the little girl slowly and in little bits.
Slowly the child started getting better. After six months they went back to the doctor and he said that the child was cured – but only because of the love and care that the parents had given her.
We look at that mom and dad and how they cared for little Regina, and we see the face of God in them. That is the kind of love and care that He has for each one of us. Our God is a caring God as we hear in the words of the Gospel today: THIS IS WHY I AM TELLING YOU NOT TO WORRY. DO NOT WORRY. But deep in our hearts, we doubt this. That is why we worry so much about money, clothes, housing, jobs, children and you name it. We worry about yesterday, today and even tomorrow.
When I was 51 years old and celebrating my 25th anniversary as a priest – I had just completed six years of digging a bankrupt parish out of the hole and then three years on the Provincial Council in San Francisco. We had elections and I ended up on the extended council…the men who would make the personnel appointments. Well, I was ready for a little easier job this time around. But then, our superiors in Rome asked us to accept a mission in Nigeria. I thought to myself: they must be kidding! We are getting seriously short of personnel; we are going in the hole each year financially; and our medium age is going up and up.
We held a Province wide meeting and spent a whole week discussing whether we should accept this offer or not. By the end of the week – after prayer and a lot of discussions – we accepted the mission and I volunteered to go there. I always wanted to be a foreign missionary, but languages are not my forte. They said the new mission – in Nigeria – was English speaking. …that’s what they said!
After everyone went home – and I had time to think of my jumping to the offer…. I began to wonder how sane it was to head into something like this at my age. Well….. I decided there and then, if the Lord wants it to happen He will have to supply the good health, the stamina…. and literally the GUTS to take it on.
Four of us headed to Nigeria – and the night we landed in Lagos –half of the new parish (that we were to start) were there to meet us. It was HOT, HUMID, and we knew no one. I took it a day at a time and little by little we “sort” of adjusted to what we had to do. Can you imagine, running around town in white habits (as it was their custom there at that time )– in the rain and mud, trying to get business done when we didn’t have the slights idea of what we were doing? Well…. We just did it – anyhow!!
I have to say… God never let us down. Was it easy? – of course not. Did we miss back home – of course we did. But we were so busy we really didn’t have much time to worry about those things. And most of all…. I just kept praying and trusting in the Lord.
By the time I left Nigeria – 21 years later… we had 60 Redemptorist Priests, four Brothers, and about 50 seminarians. God just wanted that mission to happen, and I was the lucky duck to do His work.
So – what is the Lord asking of you today? I think it is this:
Pour out your heart to Him about all your worries, your doubts, your fears, and your problems. Tell your Father in heaven about it. He really does care about you and wants you to be at peace. Then TRUST Him.
Take God at His word: I WILL NOT FORGET YOU… He says. Trust Him, and place your worries in His lap. He is the only one that can really bring you peace of mind and heart. As the Gospel tell us: don’t worry about tomorrow – you have enough to do today. Tomorrow is another story – and you haven’t even seen it yet.
Our Father in heave has more love for each one of us than we can ever imagine. It is each of us who are lacking in returning that love and trust. You will find that whatever challenges come your way – you will have the strength to handle them. That strength is not there now, because you don’t need it now. Let the Lord work in your life and you will be very surprised at His tender loving care for you. Believe me…..it works!