Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
David Foster Wallace observed in a now-classic commencement address, “in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship […] is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.” Man is created to worship: to adore another is inscribed in our very being. People who claim to be atheists cannot help but worship idols created by human hands. Those idols can go by various names: reputation, honor, fame, possessions, science, art, music, public service… Some of these things may even be good things in their proper place, but every good has its source in God’s love and points back to that source. Insofar as we receive these good things as they are in God, as pointers to God’s love, they become icons that point to the ever-greater Love that invites us to the fullness of life. But when we sever some good thing from its origin and end in God, then we make of that good thing an idol (“mammon”) which closes us in on ourselves. In themselves, these idols cannot satisfy us, because they can neither offer us the divine love that alone can satisfy our need for love, nor the grace to love others with that same love. Since these idols are the work of our hands, we are ever concerned that one day they will fail us and we will go wanting. So we pursue and hoard the idols that we worship, and so become ever more enslaved to them.
What the God of Jesus Christ offers is entirely different. Our Father in heaven does not ask us to anxiously gather up rosebuds while we may; rather, he asks us to let go of the things that we grasp after and trust that he will provide what we need. This does not mean that we sit back and do nothing. If we “seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness” in the concrete fleshiness of our lives (for it is offered nowhere else), we will discover that this task will fill a lifetime and cascade into eternity. We need not worry about this eternity, though, let alone worry about tomorrow, for while we concern ourselves with the things of God, God “concerns himself” with the things that we truly need.