Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sin is disorder.
When we read the Genesis account of creation we come to know one thing about God very quickly: that He is a God of order. Everything is a certain way; everything has an intention and purpose to it. We are keenly aware of the importance of order, of purpose and design. Should a single tooth on a single gear in a watch break off, soon enough the entire clock begins to malfunction. Miss a step on filing your tax return and you have a greater headache than the one you began with. One slipped disc in your back and the whole body suffers.
When God declared to Adam and Eve that they shall not eat of the tree, God was imposing order upon mankind, putting them “in their place.” Only God has unlimited freedom, and to remind mankind of their reality as the most beloved creature of God He imposed one limitation, otherwise giving them radical freedom in their reign over the earth. You could say that the complex machinery of the whole world was regulated by that crucial link that only Man had with God where, literally, the gears of the earth locked teeth with the gears of Heaven, and the latter turned and directed the former in perfect time. Yet the serpent comes and convinces Man to disobey God, to go against His design, to reorder himself not to God but to Satan’s false promise: Man could be something other than a creature and a god himself—he could be his own master. The crucial gear of mankind turned the opposite way and slowly over time the rest of the earth followed.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, Jesus says. Why would He say this near the end of His exhortation to not worry about our lives? Why not say, “Just have faith; trust in the Lord?” He tells us to seek God’s reign first to put us “back in our place,” to reset the timing of the whole masterwork of creation that sin has caused to go awry. The natural order is that God provides for us, that all the things we worry about are God’s concerns and were never meant to be our own. Yet because sin convinces us that we are our own masters—because we have made idols of ourselves—we come to believe that we can provide for ourselves. We are gods, ruling and governing ourselves, sustaining ourselves; Jesus reminds us that this is a lie by pointing to the things of nature. These unintelligent things—birds and flowers—are incapable of sin and thus are perfectly ordered to God; notice, He says, how they do not live in fear of what they will eat or wear. God provides for them and if He does so for these creatures that cannot sin—but also cannot love—how much more care will He show us if we but let Him be God? Tomorrow will take care of itself because He will take care of us.