The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Choosing a Master

February 23, 2014 click on left end of black bar to play-pause

March 2, 2014
Matthew 6:24-34
Fr. George Smiga

A seventy-year-old man began to complain to his wife. “I’m so frustrated,” he said. “Everything is so much farther away than it used to be. The distance from our house to the corner is two times longer than it once was, and I just noticed that they have added a hill. I don’t even run for the bus anymore, because it leaves earlier than it ever did before. And this morning as I was combing my hair at the sink I caught my reflection. How frustrating. They do not even make good mirrors anymore.”

Whether this man realizes it or not, he is coping with a significant amount of anxiety over growing old. And if he is not careful, that anxiety can become his master. Unless he takes steps to prevent it, more and more of his life will be spoiled by the thought of the way things used to be. More and more of his energy will be wasted in sadness and regret. His life could begin a downward spiral of unrealistic expectations and frustrating alternatives. When anxiety and worry become your master, you are robbed of joy and meaning. Of course, worry does not simply come from growing old. There are many things we can worry about. Being accepted and liked is one, and one to which young people are particularly vulnerable. Who will be my friends? Who will sit with me at lunch? What will people say behind my back? This worry about being liked and accepted can become our master. It can control us. And of course, there is the example that Jesus uses in today’s gospel, the example of money. Will we have enough: enough money to retire, enough money for vacation, enough money to leave our children. Money can become our master—so can worry about whether our children will become addicted to drugs, whether our sister will find a husband, or whether we will develop cancer.

Now worrying about these things is not bad in itself. After all, these are areas of concern. We need money to retire. We want to be liked. We need to cope with growing old. Especially if there is a history of it in our family, we should be concerned about cancer. But what today’s gospel tells us is not that we should avoid worrying, but that we should avoid making worry our master. This is why Jesus says we must choose. Using the example of money he says: “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Jesus wants us to choose what will rule our lives. And it is important to realize in that the options are not equal. To make the anxiety over money, or popularity, or health our master will never bring us happiness. There is really only one choice that we can make, and that is to choose God’s lordship over us. This is the way to life. It is also a way to diffuse worry and anxiety.

You see the strategy of Jesus in today’s gospel is both clever and effective. When anxiety becomes our master, it does us little good to say, “Oh don’t worry about that. You can’t do anything about it anyway, so put it out of your mind.” Saying not to worry actually makes us worry more. It makes us reflect, I might not have enough money or friends. I might get cancer. Jesus tells us that the way forward is not to dismiss worry, but to replace it with another power. We need to replace worry as our master by making God our master. God knows the future. God has the power to get us through whatever worries we may have. Making God our master orientates our lives toward confidence and hope.

We cannot serve two masters, and it would be foolish to try. So choose God as your master, because in making that choice there will be no room left for anxiety or worry to have power over you.

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