2 Chronicles 24: 17-25 “…because you have abandoned the LORD, he has abandoned you...”
Psalm 89: 4-5, 29-30, 31-32, 33-34 “…’If his sons forsake my law…I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with stripes.’ ….”
Mathew 6: 24-34 “…’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.’…”
Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J. (1568-1591) Although Aloysius grew up in royal courts and was expected to follow his family and become a military man, he chose instead to follow a life of piety. He resigned his right to family possessions and joined the Jesuits. He studied under St. Robert Bellarmine and was called to work in a Jesuit owned hospital in Rome. But when a plague struck the city, he too caught the disease which claimed his life at age 23.
The lesson in today’s readings capture an often repeated theme, life doesn’t work out very well if you try to live without the LORD. In the first reading in 2 Chronicles we see physical death and destruction coming upon King Joash and the people of Judah and Jerusalem following a period where the people walk away from the Lord. They do appear to do more than walk away, the reading talks about idol worship and the killing of Priests and prophets who tried to tell them to change their ways.
Jesus says in our Gospel reading in Matthew, “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.” (Matthew 6:24). Jesus goes on to say that the Father knows what we need, and all of that is needed will be provided. Thinking about my life of serving both God and mammon, I realized how much more stress was associated with striving for wealth and property. Not to mention what it feels like when you’ve bought a luxury item, possibly even pricey, and then a world disaster comes along and you can’t afford to help as much as you’d like with the more glaring need. And today’s Gospel reading also addressed our worrying self. My greatest time for worry came in conjunction with changing jobs. One time in particular, I was definitely praying all the time for an answer, but it seemed God wasn’t listening. But God was listening and the timing turned out to be perfect. When I got to the new job, with its atmosphere being so different from where I had worked in the past; all I had to do was think back to the scary days of not knowing when I’d go back to work to turn my attitude back over to appreciating the new atmosphere again.
So, on this warm June day of Ordinary Times, we are being invited to stay on track with God’s Commandments, in order to keep being faithful Christians. Also, we are being invited by the Lord to stop worrying about the way life is tossing us about right now. It is all good; and with prayer and discernment God will work us back to calmer waters. God Bless….
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