1st Reading: 2 Chr 24:17–25*
The Judaeans abandoned the house of Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, for the worship of sacred trunks and idols and God’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem because of their guilt. He sent them prophets to bring them back to Yahweh, but when the prophets spoke, they would not listen. The spirit of God took control of Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, “God says this: Why are you disobeying the commandments of Yahweh? You cannot prosper. You have abandoned Yahweh and he will abandon you.” They then plotted against him and by order of the king stoned him in the court of Yahweh’s House.
When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and killed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king of Damascus all that they had plundered from them. Though the Aramaean army was small, Yahweh delivered into its power an army of great size for they had abandoned him, the God of their ancestors.
The Aramaeans wounded Joash and when they withdrew they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the City of David, though not in the tombs of the king.
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
Jesus said to his disciples, “No one can serve two masters; for he will either hate one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the first and look down on the second. You cannot at the same time serve God and money.
“This is why I tell you not to be worried about food and drink for yourself, or about clothes for your body. (…) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest and do not store food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than birds?
“Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it? Why are you so worried about your clothes? Look at the flowers in the fields how they grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his wealth was clothed like one of these. (…) What little faith you have!
“Do not worry and say: What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? Or: what shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God and all these things will also be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
What is the difference between anxiety and fear? It is a matter of usage; people tend to use the word ‘anxiety’ in preference o ‘fear’ when it is a question of unlocated fear – a vague disquiet that goes looking for a reason to be fearful when there is none at hand. Or it is used to refer to impotent fear: when there is nothing you can do, when even running away is useless, because everything is out of your hands. If anxiety stays with you habitually it becomes part of you; it gets to be like a second skin, coming between you and everything you do. If you are an anxious person, put a large red “X” on today’s reading and come back to it again and again!
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