Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Lucinda M. Vardey

Today’s readings are full of predominantly feminine expressions and understandings. Isaiah refers to God’s care and compassion for us as being like a mother’s. The psalm reflects a similar maternal theme of the soul waiting patiently in silence, a sort of gestating, to be birthed in time into the full confidence and trust of being a child of God. The mysteries of God and God’s ways are unfathomable in scope, yet, as Paul writes, what is hidden in darkness will, when the Lord comes, “disclose the purposes of the heart.”

Many mystics of our Church have searched for how to purify their hearts for Jesus’ coming through the prism of flowers. Saint Teresa of Avila wrote that looking at a field of flowers reminded her of God, and helped her to recollect herself and enter into a contemplative way of being.

Taking seriously Jesus’ invitation to consider “the lilies of the field” many women mystics throughout the ages, were able to live more simply, discovering the benefits of stillness, rooted in God and in harmony with whatever was going on in the moment. They learned what Jesus perhaps was inferring when he emphasized that we do not have to “toil and spin” to become wise. The greatest challenge – and invariably the hardest – in a maturing spiritually is to be able to prayerfully receive everything we need from God without worrying about tomorrow.

The mystery of living a Christian life is that as we grow older, we are called to become childlike. Trusting in God’s nourishing love and protection, a child learns to rely solely on that love and the provision of its parent. Life becomes beautiful when “all things will be given to you.” How much space can we make for the wisdom of God’s ways to unfold in us like the petals of a flower in the morning sun?

Sunday’s Readings: Isaiah 49.14-15; 1 Corinthians 4.1-5; Matthew 6.24-34