11th Week OT (S)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA
Worry is a Master. And by master here I mean not only an overlord or a ruler but also a teacher. Master comes from the Latin magister, the name for a university teacher in the Middle Ages. So, when Jesus says that we cannot serve two Masters, he is saying, we cannot be ruled by two rulers; we cannot learn from two teachers. Case in point: worry. If worry is your chosen ruler, your chosen teacher, then you have learned that fretting, hand-wringing, and obsessive attention to control are all good ways of making sure that everything works out in your favor. Headaches, ulcers, panic attacks, and sleepless nights always result in you getting what you want. Right? That's the lesson of Prof. Worry. You can control everything and everyone even remotely connected to you and your needs. By obsessively focusing on everything that can go wrong, you are able to realign the trajectory of the entire universe and bend people and events to your will – a will, btw, that you must also believe is all-knowing and infallible. If you're going to bend the universe to your will, you must truly believe that your will is already perfect! IOW, Prof. Worry is teaching you to believe that you are God.
That's what anxiety/worry is: faithlessness. Or better, faith in Yourself alone. To worry is to place total faith, total hope in your own ability to discern and accomplish what you already believe is your perfect will. It's to serve Yourself as if you were God. You are your own master, your own teacher. “[You cannot] serve two masters. [You] will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” If you have chosen Christ as your master, your teacher, then you cannot serve Yourself as a god. I am not all-knowing. My will is far from perfect. I am fallible, prone to error, and sometimes just plain dumb. My own history is one long story of making bad choices and suffering the consequences. Does this sound familiar? Why in the world then would I think that my fretting, my hand-wringing, my anxiety could alter so much as an atom in its course? Prof. Worry is a liar. He's a false teacher and failed scholar. By his own admission, he is faithless. Why would any rational soul listen to him? Surrender yourself to the only True Master, Christ Jesus. We are not gods. He is God. He will provide. And we must receive. Give thanks and praise and. . .stop worrying.