27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have no anxiety at all.  ~Phil 4:6 

Is this even possible?  Is St. Paul asking us to assume an attitude that is possible in this life?  The Greek word for anxiety is the same verb that our Lord uses in the context of his visit to the house of Sts. Martha and Mary, when Martha is anxious about many things in contrast to Mary who remains at the feet of Christ.  The context, too, in which Paul asks us to relinquish worry is similar since it is connected to our entreating God with our requests and petitions. 

Fear is the belief that we will be sad or harmed or disappointed in the future.  Undoubtedly, Paul is encouraging the Philippians to make an act of faith, recognizing that with which God has already blessed them and using these things as the basis for their confidence that God will not abandon them now.  Such faith is obviously a grace; left to our own efforts we are unable to produce such a degree of confidence and detachment from our own expectations so as to leave us “free from all anxiety.”  However, such a peace is indeed possible.  By focusing on all that is “true… honorable… just… etc.” we dispose ourselves to the peace that dispels anxiety and unites us with those goods that no one can take from us. 

Fr. Richard Hinkley