Eighth Sunday After Epiphany, March 2, 2014 (Year A)
Scripture Readings*: Isaiah 49:8-16a, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6:24-34, Psalm 131
Isaiah foresees the time when, just like Moses who led the nation out of bondage in Egypt, God will lead His people out of captivity in Babylon. And, Isaiah looks beyond the deliverance from Babylon to the time when there will be a glorious kingdom… a time when the Lord will call people from the ends of the earth.
Although the Bible emphasizes the fatherhood of God, there is also the “motherhood” side of God’s nature that we must not forget. Isaiah pictures Israel as a nursing child, totally dependent on the Lord who will never forget or forsake them.
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
As a minister (servant) of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul was aware of the enormous responsibility that was entrusted to him with the gospel. All followers of Christ are trustees of the gospel (the good news of Christ). It is not the servant who must be prominent, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus judges those who serve Him. We are to live our lives in the light of the all-searching judgment that is to come.
Jesus longs for his followers to be free of anxiety and worry. He identifies three sources of anxiety: our bodies (the length of our life and the state of our health), our food (what we will eat), and our clothes (what we will wear). He reminds us that these are the things of what the Gentiles’ (those who have no covenant relationship to God) seek after.
In the kingdom of heaven, things are different. We have a heavenly Father who cares for us. God is mindful of even the slightest of details of nature (the lilies of the field and the birds of the air). How much more is He mindful of our needs?
A Comforting Embrace
It’s amazing how a crying child is instantly comforted by his mother’s embrace. No matter how large the problem, the child trusts that in the loving presence of his mother, a solution will be found.
Today’s readings call us to model this childlike trust and run to our Heavenly Father for protection and provision. Although God typically reveals Himself in scripture in masculine terms, the Isaiah passage clearly offers a glimpse of God’s tenderness, using maternal and nurturing terms to describe His care for His children. And Jesus, having clothed Himself in our humanity and experiencing the cares of this earthly life, urges His followers to place those burdens where they belong: in God’s capable hands.
Are your burdens heavy? Are you weary with the worry of provision and protection? Solutions are found in the loving embrace of your Heavenly Father!
Prayer for Eighth Sunday After Epiphany – “Merciful God, help me to fear nothing but the loss of You, casting all my cares on You and trusting that nothing on this earth will hide me from Your eternal love. Blessed be God forever. Amen.”
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A