In this excerpt from the Gospel reading from today’s Mass for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read:
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
This is one of those “God incidences,” in that I had been dwelling on this passage from Matthew for several days last week, without realizing that it would be in the upcoming Sunday Gospel! Seriously, coming unbidden from the depths of my inner being, from which all sorts of good and… other things… occasionally spring up, bubbled up this passage. It is one of my favorites, despite my wrestling with what it actually means from time to time.
In “seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness,” I think we realize a tremendous need to TRUST in the Lord, trust in His Mercy and Providence. This isn’t easy. Quite often there is a chasm between where we are and were we should be in our relationship with Him, especially in the area of material needs and wants.
Narrowing the gap of this chasm, to where we are at that point when we can jump across without a perceived safety net is the goal of a spiritual life. Developing such an intimate, trusting relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that we know He will take care of us in our needs. Sometimes giving us just enough, but always giving us our daily bread.
How to do this? That’s a toughie. It takes time to develop this relationship and this trust. But I think there is a sort of common sense aspect, especially if we read the rest of the Gospel passage; which you can find at the end of this old but very relevant Sober Catholic post: Just Enough.
God knows what we need. Asking for things for ourselves and others is nice, especially as doing so reminds us of Who’s in charge. But still, He knows what we need before even we do. Therefore, I think that our primary task is to “Seek first the Kingdom…” and all else will be provided for.
And what does “Seek first the Kingdom…” actually mean? You men, after all these years of pondering I am finally going to come up with a definitive answer?
Maybe, maybe not. “Seeking” is a process and this may be one of those things you dwell on and over the course of time it grows in meaning for you.
But this is what I’ve got, today. In “seeking first” we yearn for Heaven, our True Home and we order our lives so that we can get there. Prayer, partaking of the Sacraments, especially Mass and Confession, spiritual development in ridding oneself of character defects (making oneself more pleasing to the Lord), learning more about the Catholic Faith and applying what you learn to your life. We build up the kingdom of God within us, become more Christ-like and Mary-like. We live by the moral and social teachings of the Church. We live by the Beatitudes and Matthew 25:31-46 (sheep and goats “Final Judgment parable.”)
We seek His righteousness and we seek to establish that on Earth (that pesky social and moral…).
In return, the positive effects of this might lead to a greater intimacy and friendship with God and the workings of Divine Providence becoming manifest in your life. But probably “Just Enough.” 😉
You don’t worry about all those other things in the Gospel reading (food, clothing…) They will be provided for, in some way. You might have to learn how to look for them, but He will provide.
Personally, I’m depending on “Seeking first…” to help unravel some very knotty problems in life that I do not see a way out of with massive Divine Intervention. But, He knows what they are, I will will trust in Him to solve them.
His Will, not mine, be done.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"