8th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
In our Gospel reading for this Sunday we hear Jesus telling us that ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money. He then goes on to say that we should set our hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. These day our world has so many worries for everyone with various countries in a state of flux with their governments not doing what everyone expects and this is creating uncertainty. Even where I am in Northern Ireland there is a sense of not knowing what will happen next as we go to the polls next week in what really is an unwanted election but we live in hope of better things and this is what keeps all of us going. I think that the key to this weekend’s readings lies in the psalm which tell us: In God alone is my soul at rest; my help comes from him. He alone is my rock, my stronghold, my fortress: I stand firm. So for us god is our rock and our strong fortress and if we rest in him no matter what happens we will come through it and come out the other side realising that we got through that problem with the help of God.
This Gospel passage concludes with Matthew reminding us to address each day’s problems as they come, confident that we are in God’s loving care he will show us the solutions to our problems as they arise. God is a loving father who holds each one of us and the whole world in his hands If we develop that attitude of faith, then whenever the events of our lives become heavy, when calamity strikes individuals or relationships in a family, we can call on the presence of the Lord to care for us, to share our burdens.
Lent always seems to come around so quickly! Next Wednesday March 1st is Ash Wednesday, and we begin our 40-day annual Lenten journey once again. As we place the ashes on our foreheads we remember what Lent is about coming back to the Lord. Over the six weeks of Lent there will be a packed programme of activities providing many opportunities for undertaking spiritual renewal coupled with alms giving and all of these are good and I encourage you wherever you are reading this to try and take up some of the opportunities provided for Lent where you are.