Head of Christ,
Painted by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669),
Painted 1648-1656
Oil on oak panel,
© Philadelphia Museum of Art

Head of Christ,
Painted by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669),
Painted 1648-1656
Oil on oak panel,
© Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gospel of 18 June 2022

That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Reflection on the painting

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus is telling us not to worry too much about the food we eat, clothes or our bodies. Of course these are important, but what Jesus is asking is for us to have a sense of proportion about our anxieties. We are urged to be more preoccupied about what is more important and less preoccupied about what is less important. Being too worried about small, unimportant things, takes our minds and hearts off what is really essential in our lives.

Our primary concern and worry should be to seek and do God’s will in order to help build the Kingdom of God here on earth. Jesus is the source to look at to see how we should do God’s will.

Worry is part of our lives. We worry about things. We worry about our children, about our elderly parents, about our careers, about our finances, about our health, etc… We all worry. But we are asked to put it in perspective. Jesus in his humanity must have worried too, about his disciples, about his mission, about facing his Passion, etc…

Our painting by Rembrandt conveys this sense of worry and pensiveness that Jesus may have had. Rembrandt used his neighbours in the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam as models, and so we see a very intimate, real portrait here of Christ in his full humanity.

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Patricia O'Brien
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
7 months ago

Oh my goodness! If ever there was a gospel apposite for today it’s this one! Constantly on the news, everyone SO concerned about the rising cost of everything and galloping inflation…Our Lord reminds us of what’s really important and most of all, as people of faith, not to worry. There’d be far more than the cost of petrol to worry about if you were living in the Ukraine.

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