I think the opening line from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians deserves a citation: “Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).
I guess we aren't the only age that experiences anxiety. People 2,000 years ago were filled with worry and anxiety as well. In fact, they probably had more cause for anxiety than we. Food was much more difficult to come by, sickness and disease much more prevalent, and death a constant companion.
Paul wanted his people to know that faith in God is the best antidote to anxiety. Prayer and trust in God can lead one to the firm belief that God is in control. God will never let someone down. No matter how dire the situation may appear, God will provide. That is one of the many benefits to having a relationship with Jesus Christ: we are given an abiding sense of peace. Paul wanted his people to pray so they could be relieved of anxiety.
Jesus himself experienced this peace that comes from a deep trust in God. It would have been easy for our Lord to be filled with anxiety. Think about it. He knew the people would kill him. He knew his friends would betray him and that he would die alone. He gives this parable today about the wicked tenants killing the landowner's son. It is clearly a metaphor about Jesus. The landowner is God the Father and Jesus is the son sent to the vineyard to help the situation. Jesus's parable is almost a prediction. He knows that he will die.
Yet Christ wasn't filled with anxiety. He was a peace-filled man. Our Lord continued on with his mission. His trust in the Father gave him confidence, courage, and peace. So too can we be filled if we stay close to God.
The Tuesday Night Theology topic this week will be a history of the North American Martyrs: Sts. John Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, and the other missionaries who worked with the Native Americans and spread the Gospel in our homeland. It is a fascinating story and I hope to see you there!
On Wednesday we will have a "Back to School" Mass for our religious education program at 7pm in the Church. RE is off to a good start, thanks particularly to Patty Collins, our Coordinator of Religious Education, and her dedicated group of catechists.
I look forward to watching the St. Juliana School Cross Country team compete up in my neck of the woods (Gillson Park, Wilmette) this Thursday. Annie Kisor has done a tremendous job organizing our new cross country program, and coaching them to several top finishes!
At the school Mass at 8:30am on Friday the 7th graders will each receive a Bible and a special blessing as they study the Word of God and prepare to live it in their lives. Please keep our 7th graders, both in our school and RE program, in your prayers as they prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation.
Yours in Christ,