(This reflection is on the readings for the day before Advent begins, the very last day of the liturgical year, and appears in Give Us This Day. Please see the end of the post for further details.)
Our world seems to run on the fuel of fear. Simply watching or reading the news can fill our tanks with enough anxiety-provoking material to keep us running for days. Work and family concerns, fretfulness over jobs and money, disquiet about health, and apprehension over other things can turn us into nervous wrecks. Constant worry is exhausting, and that exhaustion typically leads to more angst.
Jesus offers a clear warning that might be easy for anxious people to miss. Do we think we’re off the hook because we are not out “carousing” or getting drunk? Not so fast. It seems that the “anxieties of daily life” are on the watch list as well, and that is a net likely to catch many.
It could be easy to take Jesus’ words literally, almost as a threat. That might incite even more fear and less faith! Words like “trap” and “assault” invite trepidation. Can we reimagine His words as an invitation instead?
Setting a goal of being anxiety-free is unrealistic. Turning to God with our concerns and handing them over to God is at the heart of this Gospel. Jesus is with us to share the burden, making the load lighter.
Can we allow Jesus to free of us of our addiction to worry? Letting go would reduce our burden and relieve us of the self-focus of needless fear, transforming our worry into the vigilance required for life in Christ.
As a subscriber to Give Us This Day from the very first announcement of its future publication, I cannot recommend this daily devotional enough. My own work has nothing to do with that recommendation; that I am a regular contributor still leaves me awed and grateful. This his small booklet that shows up in the mail each month has become the foundational element of my daily prayer. It is my hope that you will consider a subscription for yourself or as a gift to another.
(Reflection text ©Give Us This Day, published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN)