Anxiety Free

October 8, 2017 | N W | Comfort, Father Salvador, Prayer, Self-Reflection, Thanksgiving, Trust

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Is 5:1-7 / Ps 80 / Phil 4:6-9 / Mt 21:33-43
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

Most of those who attended the mission at Resurrection parish were not aware that attending with them was a priest – Father Bob. He is a retired Air Force chaplain as well as a retired priest of the diocese of Erie.

If you are one of the few – as I was – who had the privilege of speaking with him, you would think that he is the person to speak with when you are experiencing trials and tribulations in this life. His presence exudes peace and tranquility. Speaking with him gives one the impression that for him life is easy. There may be problems, but they can be easily solved, because with God all things are possible.

His outlook on life isn’t really surprising when you consider it. Aside from his solid prayer life, for the past seventeen years he has lived in the present moment. He doesn’t watch TV or read newspapers; he has no internet connection and so no email. He doesn’t even have a telephone. He communicates with his friends and relatives through “snail mail.” He doesn’t have a car, walking about ten miles a day to see the beauty of God’s creation and to get the groceries he needs. He lives in God’s presence 24/7 – no wonder he is one of the happiest people alive.

One of his favorite Bible verses is the one we heard today in the second reading, which is taken from the fourth chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The apostle said, “Have no anxiety at all.” How can you live without having anxiety in this day and age? Is it even possible? Father Bob is a living testimony of how to live an anxiety-free life.

St. Paul gave us the formula on how to live this type of life in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Philippians. He wrote, “Whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In short he is telling us – Christ’s followers in the 21st century – that if you want to be free of anxiety, control your thoughts. Think only of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

St. Paul wrote this letter inside a prison cell while awaiting his execution, but he was thinking about the persecution being faced by the early Christians. The fact that St. Paul was able to write this encouraging and inspirational letter while in prison goes to show that he was in full control of his thoughts.

Listen again to St. Paul’s words: “Brothers and sisters, have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

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