July 1, 2009

Worry Not

13th Week Tuesday
Matthew 8: 23-27 “Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea”

There are two kinds of storms in Lake Galilee. One originates from the outside, like the continental wind storms that are common in the Mediterranean area. It is seasonal. The second originates from Lake Galilee itself. The natural geographical set-up of the lake and the nearby mountains creates a unique movement of cold and warm air that produces storms. They are potentially dangerous to seafarers but they don’t usually last.

In our gospel today, Jesus and his disciples were confronted by this local storm. They were well-seasoned fishermen. But because of fear, they panicked and forgot who they were and who was sailing with them.

Think about this: We have two kinds of storms in our life. The first storm is the “outside” storm. We cannot control them but they are legitimately important in our life: political, social, economical, ecological and other concerns. The second storm is an “inner” storm, this is our personal, family or community concerns that we normally encounter: family feud, broken relationship, financial difficulties, health concerns, community or work related issues. They are not life-threatening storms but they are life-defining opportunities that we need to face. Like the disciples, sometimes we lost our bearings in the middle of the storm because of fear and failure to trust God.

But I realize that one of the things that contributed to this fear factor is our bag-full of worries. Many of us are worriers. We love to say, “We’ll never make it.” We forgot that Jesus is with us. The funny thing is, much of what we worry about doesn't matter at all! Take a look at these statistics about worry:

• 40% of all things that we worry about never come to pass.
• 30% of all our worries that involves our past decisions that cannot be
• 12% focus on criticism from others who spoke because they felt inferior.
• 10% are related to our health, which gets worse when we worry.
• 8% of our worries could be described as "legitimate" causes for
• It means that 92% are useless and unnecessary worries!

I guess “worry” is one of the devil’s most powerful weapons in his armoury against us. When worry rules our hearts, we lost our identity. Worrying robs our now. It is either we are trapped in our past mistakes or anxiously living in the future. Thus we failed to enjoy the “beauty of the now” and “the gift of each moment” that God is giving us. The man who is free from worries can leisurely eat and enjoy his breakfast of dried fish, red eggs, tomatoes, and fried rice. He can immerse himself in the morning sunlight and breathe the fresh morning air. She takes a bath and enjoys the water gently flowing to her body without thinking what she will do in the office or school today. He can close his eyes and count his blessings. She can afford to smell a flower. He can work well under pressure. She can laugh at her mistake. He can set aside his voluminous work when weekend comes and waste his time with his family. And when evening comes, they pray, leave everything to God, and sleep in peace.
Worry not. God is with us.

"The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing." - Eric Berne

- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ
Carmelite Monastery / June 30, 2009

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