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Jesus said we should not worry about what we are to eat and what we are to wear or worry about our lives. This is my question: Who in the Bible is the poster boy for anxiety? The man who fell among robbers who stripped him, beat and left half-dead in a gutter. If anyone had a right to worry it would be this person. Jesus tells us that two priests pass by without giving the man assistance. They didn’t help because of their employment obligations. If they touched his blood or a corpse they would be ritually unclean not be able to serve in the temple. Only after sacrificing a red heifer would they get their purity back. If a priest and Levite are not able to help you, then you are in really big trouble. Should the man worry? No. Is God going to leave Heaven and come down to help the man? No, He doesn’t have too. God has a partner: the Good Samaritan. As long as God has partners no one will ever have to worry again.
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus stopped near Jericho to give sight to a blind beggar. That was a nice thing to do, but here is the problem. Jesus took away the man’s sole source of income. He no longer has a reason to beg. He has no education, job training or skills. The man sees today what about tomorrow? Should he be worried? No. As Jesus is about to enter the city there is a large crowd and He sees a rich man in a sycamore tree. Jesus tells him that He will have dinner with him. Overjoyed, the man tells him that he will give half his wealth to the poor. Then Jesus says, “Salvation has come to this house.” How? Jesus now has a partner. The man who was formerly blind does not have to worry about what he is going to eat or wear. Jesus has a partner who will take care of the poor.
When my oldest brother turned sixteen, he went to work with my father. When he got home that afternoon his t-shirt was soaked with his sweat and he had smudges of tar on his face. I asked him, “What happened to you?” He said, “Roof job.” That is what he said, but I knew what he was thinking, “I’m not doing this for a living.” He went to college, and he now works in a cushy office designing memory chips for computers. When my younger brother turned sixteen he went to work for my father. When he came home after the first day of work I asked him, “What happened to you?” He said, “Roof job.” Today he has a doctorate in chemistry. When I turned sixteen, I went to work for my father. We both got up at 5:30 and put on heavy work shoes. At 7:00 am, we pull a forty-foot ladder off the roof racks of the truck. At 7:15, we walk up the ladder with an eighty-pound bundle of roof shingles. At 4:00 pm, we fall asleep on lazy-boy chairs in the living room. So that is why Dad always took naps after work. At 7:00 pm, we fish for striped bass in the canal. So that is why Dad likes to fish. When I went to work for Dad, he got a work partner and I got a new best friend.
Let me tell you about the best fishing day in my life. Dad and I went to a trout pond one early spring day and there was a hatch. Let me tell you about a hatch. Once in an about twenty years, a fisherman will go to a pond and there will be a great hatch. Bugs crawl out from rocks and vegetation and float to the surface of the pond. If they make it, they fly away. The fish haven’t eaten all winter so they go into feeding frenzy. It was fishing paradise. Usually, I am fairly articulate but when it comes to this story I am just at a loss of words: “I mean like, it was great, you know, it was great.” I had just released another fish and looked over my shoulder and saw Dad walking to the truck. When I got to the truck, he had his waders off and his fly rod was put away, I said, “Dad, you can’t leave now. This only happens once in a fisherman’s life; you have to stay a little longer.” Dad said, “They bring your mother her food at five-o’clock. I want to make sure I am there to help her eat. Now you get back out there and fish.” I remember standing on the shoreline watching as the truck drove away. That is when God talked to me, “Peter, I got a request today in the nursing home. An unsung hero there requested a visit and I intend to fulfill that request. I am sending the best person I can find to make her day.
Christ in the Gospel said that we are not to worry about what we are going to wear or what we are going to eat. God is not going to come down to feed and clothe us. God has great partners. You are the one who will wake up one morning, and say, “God, today, You and I are going to something great today, these are Your hands, these are Your feet, this is Your mouth.” You are God’s partner. Never forget that.Back to All Homilies