|Still Life with a Skull by Philippe de Champaigne (1671)|
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
Serving Two Masters
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.[a]
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?[b] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Cited in the Catechism: In promulgating the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Blessed John Paul II explained that the Catechism “is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium.” He went on to “declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion” (Fidei Depositum). Passages from this Gospel reading are cited in the Catechism in several paragraphs.
6:24. Man’s ultimate goal is God; to attain this goal he should commit himself entirely. But in fact some people do not have God as their ultimate goal, and instead choose wealth of some kind—in which case wealth becomes their god. Man cannot have two absolute and contrary goals.
6:25–32. In this beautiful passage Jesus shows us the value of the ordinary things of life, and teaches us to put our trust in God’s fatherly providence. Using simple examples and comparisons taken from everyday life, he teaches us to abandon ourselves into the arms of God.
6:27. The word “span” could be translated as “stature”, but “span” is closer to the original (cf. Lk 12:25). A “cubit” is a measure of length which can metaphorically refer to time.
6:33. Here again the righteousness of the Kingdom means the life of grace in man—which involves a whole series of spiritual and moral values and can be summed up in the notion of “holiness”. The search for holiness should be our primary purpose in life. Jesus is again insisting on the primacy of spiritual demands. Commenting on this passage, Pope Paul VI says: “Why poverty? It is to give God, the Kingdom of God, the first place in the scale of values which are the object of human aspirations. Jesus says: ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.’ And he says this with regard to all the other temporal goods, even necessary and legitimate ones, with which human desires are usually concerned. Christ’s poverty makes possible that detachment from earthly things which allows us to place the relationship with God at the peak of human aspirations” (General Audience, 5 January 1977).
6:34. Our Lord exhorts us to go about our daily tasks serenely and not to worry uselessly about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. This is wisdom based on God’s fatherly providence and on our own everyday experience: “He who observes the wind will not sow; and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Eccles 11:4).
What is important, what is within our reach, is to live in God’s presence and make good use of the present moment: “Do your duty ‘now’, without looking back on ‘yesterday’, which has already passed, or worrying over ‘tomorrow’, which may never come for you” (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 253).
Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St Jerome