How God responds to our worries
A Reflection for Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
“Do you not yet understand or comprehend?” (Mk 8:17)
I have often struggled with bouts of worrying. Sometimes this manifests itself in my actions: double-checking that the oven is off before I leave the house or double-checking the kids’ car seats. Sometimes it means lying in bed thinking about the next day or worrying about how my actions have been interpreted by others. But of all the things I’ve worried about, having forgotten a loaf of bread is not among them. Yet in today’s Gospel we find the disciples puzzling over how their lack of this food might have annoyed Jesus.
Of course, as with most stories in the Gospel, this one is about more than just bread. Jesus is not annoyed by the apostles’ lack of food, but by their lack of trust. He responds to their puzzlement with a series of questions, seemingly expressing frustration that they have not yet learned a lesson that he has tried to teach them over and over again: I will take care of you.
So often, underlying my worry is really an unacknowledged fear that maybe this time God won’t come through, maybe this is the time the loaves can’t be stretched.
How often are our own hearts hardened, our own eyes and ears closed to Christ telling us over and over again: Do you not understand? I will provide. Do not be tempted, Jesus says, to think of me as the Pharisees and Herod have, as an opponent, as someone who will undermine us. Remember, he says, all those times you worried you would not have enough, and yet I offered an abundance. He asks: How many baskets of scraps did we gather the last time you thought we would not have enough?
So often, underlying my worry is really an unacknowledged fear that maybe this time God won’t come through, maybe this is the time the loaves can’t be stretched. It is then I am reminded to return to prayer, to return to the many Gospel stories that urge me to trust in God’s will and to trust that God will give me what I need, even if it is not what I think I need at the time. In reading this Gospel, I am encouraged to truly believe that God’s love is abundant enough to provide in the midst of my worry and forgetfulness. I am reminded that where I seek a lack, God sees an opportunity to fulfill his promise to love us unconditionally.