18 June 2022 – Saturday of Week 11
Saturday of Week 11
1st Reading: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25
King Joash murders the son of the priest who had saved his life
After Jehoiada’s death the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to king Joash and the king listened to their advice. They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord; they testified against them, but they would not listen.
Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you.” But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge!”
At the end of the year the army of Aram came up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the officials of the people from among them, and sent all the booty they took to the king of Damascus. Although the army of Aram had come with few men, the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.
When they had withdrawn, leaving Joash severely wounded, his servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of the priest Jehoiada, and they killed him on his bed. So he died; and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.
Responsorial: Psalm 89
R./: I will keep my love for my servant always
I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations. (R./)
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.
I will make his posterity endure forever
and his throne as the days of heaven. (R./)
If his sons forsake my law
and walk not according to my ordinances,
If they violate my statutes
and keep not my commands. (R./)
I will punish their crime with a rod
and their guilt with stripes.
Yet my mercy I will not take from him,
nor will I belie my faithfulness. (R./)
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
We cannot serve two masters. Do not be anxious for tomorrow
Jesus said to this disciples, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you נyou of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
What to care about
2 Chronicles reports the series of outrages committed by royals who should have followed the example of their ancestor, king David, faithful shepherd of Israel. Today we had the story of how King Joash was led astray by the gentry in Jerusalem. Under their influence, he forgot his loyal friends who had saved his life as a child and brought him to the throne. He turned his back on his origins, (“Scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend”), and killed Zechariah the high priest, whose father had saved Joash years before.
Jesus says, “Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today has troubles enough of its own.” It is more vital to live today than to worry about tomorrow. Life itself is more basic than sumptuous food, the body more valuable than elegant clothing. It is not healthy, psychologically, much less Christian, to be too attached to fancy foods or stylish clothing.
We need to review our priorities, “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Selfish or sensuous desires lead to all sorts of trouble, as is well illustrated in today’s first reading, about the fall from grace of the once promising king, Joash of Jerusalem.
Worrying stems from our awareness of the vagaries of life and cannot be completely banished from our minds. Parents worry about their children. Relatives worry about each other. Young people worry about their future.
Jesus must sometimes have worried about his disciples, and the rejection of his message by many. So he does not tell us to never be concerned about anything. Rather, what he says is, don’t set your hearts on food, drink and clothing; don’t make material goods your main concern, for that would be pure paganism.
It is really about getting our priorities right, in line with Christ’s own priorities. He says, ‘Set your hearts on God’s kingdom first, and on his righteousness.’ Don’t be so anxious about food, drink and clothing that there is no room left for doing God’s will. The beginning of the Lord’s Prayer lists the real priorities, ‘Hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done.’ These were Jesus’ concerns and should be ours as well.