Trust Topples Worry

Hours before any of the Filipino Day activities were to take place today on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, pilgrims were already joyful and welcoming to all they met. "Good morning" and "God bless you" were the happy refrains.

This on a morning that was overcast and chilly. On a day weather forecasters warned we'd see harsh rains and thunderstorms starting early and continuing through the day. Did these pilgrims worry?

"Oh, no," said Adriana, who came to the National Shrine from Colombia. "We just pray," she said with a wave of her hand.

Busloads of other pilgrims apparently didn't worry, either.

Joining a pilgrimage bus from Jersey City, Regina came to the Shrine with a petition for the Lord. "I've had other intentions answered," she said, "and so I come again now. " Also in her group, Lizette was visiting the Shrine for the first time. She, too, has a special intention: to pass board exams.

As daily devotions began, pilgrims filled both sides of the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine. The benches on the grassy hill remained empty. But not for fear of rain. Many pilgrims were still visiting the Shrine Gift Shop or lining up for Confession.

Then, the bells rang, calling all to Holy Mass. The benches filled. There were moments of misting in the air, and a few preemptive umbrellas appeared.

The main celebrant and homilist was Fr. Joseph A. Meagher, pastor of St. Antonius Church in Newark, New Jersey.

Before his homily, Fr. Meagher said a prayer to the Holy Spirit, and he prayed to trust completely in Jesus. "I really have to trust in Him because I'm going to try a phrase in Tagalog," Fr. Meagher quipped, referencing a major language in the Philippines.

"Hesus, ako ay nananalig sa Iyo," he said, which translates to, "Jesus, I trust in You." Claps of appreciation followed.

Trust versus worry was the theme of the day, taken from today's gospel reading of Mt 6:24-34. Here's a part of it:

"Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"

Father Meagher continued the lesson. "So much of our life is distracted by fears, anxieties," he said. "I've been told there are some 360 times that God says through the prophets, the Psalms, epistles, and the Gospels, "Do not fear! Do not be afraid! Our only response is 'Jesus, I trust in You.' "

This trust doesn't mean we understand everything, he said. But we know that Jesus loves us. More than we love ourselves. Or a spouse, children, family.

"So, what am I worried for?," Fr. Meagher asked. "You know, my brothers and sisters, we complicate it too much. Just stick with the simple stuff! 'Jesus, I trust in You!' Lord, I'll get through anything if I trust in You.

"Do you have loved ones who have strayed from the Church? You place them in the hands of Jesus and the Heart of Jesus, and stop worrying about them. You constantly pray for them, but don't worry about them. Worrying is useless! All it does is open a door for the enemy coming back in and messing with our heads. We must be vigilant. Do not give in to fear. You will be tempted a thousand times a day. Don't give in to it! Even right here and now, let us resolve to place our trust in Him and not be anxious. Jesus is worthy of your trust."

There certainly was a lot of trust in Jesus shown at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy today.

Oh, and that thunderstorm that was supposed to start in the morning and get worse in the afternoon? According to the Shrine staff who was watching the weather online, the storm approached the area, split, and veered around it.

There was nothing to worry about. Thank You, Jesus.


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