1 Corinthians 4:1-5
God loves you. Let that sit with you for a moment. God loves YOU. It’s good for us to hear these words every now and again and to really let them sink into our hearts because it is easy to forget that reality. And even when we are reminded of it, it can easily be a simple thought in our head rather than an experience of love in our heart.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah we hear today once again this expression of God’s love for us, His sons and daughters: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of the womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” All of us know, especially all of you mothers, how inconceivable it is for a mother to forget about her children. It’s a permanent change that takes place in that exchange between a mother and child and so strong is that bond that even parents who lost children many years ago still think about them regularly. And it is in light of that great love and great concern that the Lord speaks, saying that even greater than that is the love He has for each of us; He will never forget us.
This great love for us is also an invitation extended to each of us to show that love in return and to place our trust in Him who created us and sustains us. All throughout our scriptures this weekend we hear this aspect of placing our trust in God. The section from Isaiah clearly shows this relationship of trust that the Lord desires us to have with Him, where we as infants are able to see Him as a parent on whom we rely for everything. The psalm expounds upon this by denoting several titles for the God of trust – our rock, our salvation, our stronghold, and our refuge. In the gospel passage taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Christ tries to drive home this point of God being one worthy of trust by having the people simply look around them. He points to the birds that do not store up anything for later and yet are cared for by God. So too the flowers, do not expend great amounts of energy to grow and be clothed with beauty and yet, they too are sustained by God. And how much more important are we than they? In all of this Christ is pointing out that all of the lesser things are cared and that it would be foolishness to suggest that God would not care also for the things of much greater value – His own children. Implicitly, Christ is showing the people that the invitation to enter into relationship with God is not an empty one, but that He will provide for our necessities and much more. God is a faithful God in Whom we can place our trust, but it is up to us to take that step and say those words of faith, “I trust in You.”
This can be surprisingly difficult though. After all, we are trained to be self-motivating and self-reliant by everything around us. And this requires that we be busy about many things, ensuring that we have properly prepared everything for ourselves in the future. While preparing for the future isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can become a bad thing if we let it. We can become like Martha in the gospels, where she is busy at work fixing up the house while her sister Mary is at the feet of Jesus listening to His words. We can busy ourselves so much so that our focus can begin to turn from God to the many things that we need to take care of. We can come to Mass and be worried about what to cook for dinner, or go into the chapel and be concerned about some situation at work or home, and in that time miss the fact that the Lord is right there with us. And even worse, sometimes we can be so consumed by these things of the world – food, drink, and clothing – that we can not simply lose sight of God in that but can turn away from Him all together, placing the trust in ourselves. Recall that Christ began this particular topic by noting that one cannot serve two masters because eventually one side has to be chosen. So with our lives, we will eventually have to make a choice to trust in ourselves and our own ability to secure our future or we can place our trust in the Lord who will secure our future for us.
Here we can see the great value in our world today of the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the beautiful mantra of “Jesus, I trust in you.” The message of the Divine Mercy reminds us of the merciful love that the Lord has for us, a love that forgives us immediately when we turn back to Him and confess that we have lost sight of Him or turned away. Moreover, the image and mantra remind us of this fact that God is indeed trustworthy and that we are invited to placed our trust in Him. This trust isn’t just the trust in His mercy, but absolute trust in all things. For several years I have been fostering this devotion to the Divine Mercy in my own life. And for the longest time I saw those words “Jesus, I trust in You” as a sign of my trust only in His mercy. And then one day I realized that to trust in Jesus is much more than to rely on His mercy when I fail, but that it is to commend everything to His care. To let Him worry about everything, even the smallest things.
Most you know about the nine-week novena to the Divine Mercy beginning this Tuesday evening and I hope that many of you are able to attend and join in the praying of that beautiful Chaplet of Divine Mercy ['listen now' button brcatholicradio.com around 6:30 on Tuesdays]. But remember also that the devotion to the Divine Mercy isn’t just for this time of year or to be prayed as a community. Rather, it is a devotion that can easily be brought into every aspect of our daily lives. Whether before reception of communion, as part of our daily prayers or during a rough part of our day, a profound impact can be made in our lives if we turn to the Lord and simply utter those five small words – Jesus, I trust in You.