Birds of the Sky


A few weeks ago, the Sunday’s Gospel had proven once again to be a challenge for me.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,

what you will eat or drink,

or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

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?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’

or ‘What are we to drink? ’or  ‘What are we to wear?’

All these things the pagans seek.

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

A mother’s work is never done.  Planning is always in front of her, tomorrow, next week, next month and so on.  She’s consumed with the duties of her vocation, and to live like the birds, ahhh, what’s that like?

After hearing this Gospel, I hoped for our Pastor to do a little explaining on the topic, and see what angle he’d bring to light, and truly allow me, as a Mother, to implement some form of this teaching.  Instead, our ArchBishop had a message for us all on the Annual Catholic Appeal.  It was definitely homily worthy, to encourage us to help support the larger Church, yet, I left wanting.  I left Mass not sure how to apply this type of teaching to my own life.

I do worry.  I do stress about mundane details.  I find myself, at times, consumed with the details, and then ultimately miss the bigger picture.  And then, I can thank my husband for bringing me back to my senses, with a kind word about the birds of the sky.  Do they worry?

Well, of course not, they’re birds.  They don’t have homework to check, spelling words to quiz, house to clean, laundry to finish, or lunches to pack.  They are animals.  How can I possibly relate to their lives, whose lifestyle relies completely on some God-given animal instinct.  Fly South.  Fly North.  Make Nest.  Find Food.  Easy.  I can handle that.

What I wonder is how to live like that, and all the while, somehow, maintain some semblance of a happy, organized home, that not only allows for creativity but keeps high standards in virtue, education and spiritual depth…in that never ending effort to prepare children for a successful future.  Ya know, I even Goggled the topic “birds of the sky Gospel teaching”, to see who out there might give a little light on the subject…..Unfortunately, I saw many entries dealing with the unusual event of thousands of birds falling dead from the sky in various locations around the globe.

Ha ha, very funny.  That’s not what I was hoping for.

Alas, I am on my own to find some way to interpret this teaching and make it applicable to my own personal life….stay with me, I hope to get somewhere….

Could it be the tendency to look backwards in the past, and have too many regrets, without making peace with them?   Could it be the tendency to agonize over upcoming, stress inducing, or nerve wracking activities and never allow for peace to find you?  Could we be losing the bigger picture….because we choose the details instead?

Could it be that our whole lives are filled with this food, this dinner…..lives filled with decisions on this dress or that one….lives filled with boxes of stuff in the ‘what if’ future?  Could it be that we live in the past or the future, but not really in the now?

Here’s another angle:  Are we overly concerned with the details of our clothes?  Must we keep current on the latest fashion on the catwalk?  Do we keep tabs on the current fad, and make sure we are aligned correctly?  All of which is passing.   Yes, we should look good, for reasons of health, dignity and to please God and our husbands.  But do we obsess to keep up with the Jones’?  What’s our motive?

Birds of the sky don’t have these concerns, obviously, which I can understand why God choose them to use as illustration.  They seem so free, don’t they?  They soar high, then low, they see food, they go eat it.  They aren’t shackled by finances, obligations or commitments.  They are here, then gone.

Again, they are animals.  They get that freedom.  We don’t necessarily have that freedom.  What we do have control over, is our own reactions to our shackles.  And it seems that God shows us the birds, because they have a certain peace, which perhaps we often lack.

And God tells us, in the Gospel, that “all these things will be given to you besides”.  How He cares for us.  He knows we agonize on unnecessary things, yet will give them to us anyway….and even more.  He can give us that same peace that we see the birds with, in an effortless flight.  He can put rest and peace in our soul to give us distance from the details, objectivity, sensitivity or compassion when we need it most.

Ultimately, I suppose I’ve found a new understanding….perhaps it’s about TRUST.  The birds trust, that the food they need will be there, that the tools to make their nest will show themselves.

Do we trust……enough?  Do we trust in the big things, but also the small ones? To me, trust, is a loaded word.  To trust means dependence, and I just wasn’t raise that way.  I was raised to be independent, never rely on others, make your own path, succeed on your own, buck up, suck it up, and to quote Nike, “Just Do It”.

While, some might cringe to hear parents would raise a child with such a mindset – I can look back with a tad more wisdom to see that, I am who I am, because of all that.  I am a doer.  I get it done.  That’s the gift…..but…..there is a downside.  The drawback, is that I rarely rely on others, even God to help see me through.  That takes a bit more practice on my part….which is probably exactly why this Gospel passage often stumps me, or even irritates me a bit.

Again, I hear it again.  Learn to trust. It just might be, the one thing, that I will spend my life trying to accomplish.  If we are all here for a purpose, that just might be mine.

So I have to study the birds of the sky?  Bring it on.  I’m a doer.  I’ll get it done.

Yikes, I’m doomed.

Copyright 2011 Sahmatwork


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1 Comment

  1. We had this reading at our wedding, which the priest said was highly unusual. Didn’t matter to me – it was something I wanted to be reminded of in our marriage and our life together and something I needed to be reminded of today, as we prepare for another baby and more bills and more worries.

    Found you by googling : “do not worry birds reap catholic” because I couldn’t remember the verse off hand. Glad I did. Its good to read other’s thoughts and needs. Thanks.

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