Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 17, 2019)

A barren bush in the desert or a tree planted by running water – which of these images reflects your choices in life? Have you chosen to trust other people or are you trusting in the care of the Lord?

Jeremiah reminds us that, if we choose to trust in the Lord, then together we can face whatever life brings to us. God is with us, nourishing us even in the heat and drought of daily living.

Jesus asks us to take our trust in the Lord with us into our world and find ways to share it with the less fortunate – people who are poor, hungry, suffering and alienated. Jesus’ presence and message is meant for those who are ready and willing to focus on God rather than themselves, in order to experience the blessings of God given through others rather than holding on to the good things of life for themselves.

When you and I have learned to trust in God’s care, we are willing to share whatever we have with the poor, to give whatever nourishment we can to those who are hungry, to bring moments of joy and care to those who suffer, and to welcome into our circle of friends people who feel left-out. As disciples of Jesus, we are to be evidence of the kingdom of God present among us – by the way we live each day.

When we have learned to accept our own poverty, hunger, sufferings and alienation as human beings and are open to the many ways that God’s care has touched our lowliness and drawn us into his circle of friends, then we are better able to be more like God in caring for the lowly around us. Then we can be good news to our brothers and sisters.

During this ordinary time of the year, we are being taught about being better disciples. We are being taught to grow in more confident trust in God – that God is loving us and caring for us at every moment as his children.

St. Francis de Sales offers us an image that we can take to prayer each day:

“In all your affairs lean solely on God’s Providence, by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Imitate a little child, whom one sees holding tight with one hand to its father, while with the other it gathers strawberries or blackberries from the wayside hedge. Even so, while you gather and use this world’s goods with one hand, always let the other be fast in your Heavenly Father’s hand and look round from time to time to make sure that He is satisfied with what you are doing, at home or abroad. Beware of letting go, under the idea of making or receiving more—if He forsakes you, you will fall to the ground at the first step. When your ordinary work or business is not especially engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it;  and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, even as navigators who make for the haven they would attain, by looking up at the heavens rather than down upon the deeps on which they sail. In so doing, God will work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed.”