From Today’s Gospel Reading (Luke 12: 22-31)
“Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”
The Lord Jesus is teaching us today about trusting in God's providential care for us. If we are not supposed to put our trust and confidence in earthly wealth or things, (which is the inclination of our fallen minds), we must learn to trust that God will honour His promises to us. The Lord takes examples from nature to show how God takes care of Creation. If we human beings are the Crown of Creation,* then it follows that He will take even better care of us! The “nations of the world,” (who represent those who do not have a relationship with the true God,) “seek” after various fancy foods, exotic beverages, fabulously expensive and trendy clothing, etc. Should Christ's disciples want to live like them? The word “seek” here, is actually a much stronger word. It is “ἐπιζητοῦσιν” (epizitousin). It means that the Gentiles are super-zealous for these things, or literally they seek out these things almost maniacally. It's not that eating is bad, or having clothing is bad, it's about luxury, it's about addiction, it's about excess, it’s about vainglory. Many of the fathers say that those things which we have in excess of what we truly need, are not actually ours at all. They are stolen property. We have robbed them from the poor. St. Basil the Great says: “Why are you wealthy while that other man is poor? Is it, perhaps, in order that you may receive wages for kindheartedness and faithful stewardship, and in order that he may be honored with great prizes for his endurance? But, as for you, when you hoard all these things in the insatiable bosom of greed, do you suppose you do no wrong in cheating so many people? Who is a man of greed? Someone who does not rest content with what is sufficient. Who is a cheater? Someone who takes away what belongs to others. And are you not a man of greed? are you not a cheater? taking those things which you received (from God) for the sake of stewardship, and making them your very own? Now, someone who takes a man who is clothed and renders him naked would be termed a robber; but when someone fails to clothe the naked, while he is able to do this, is such a man deserving of any other appellation?” **
* Psalm 8: 5-6; Ephesians 2:10
** Homily on the saying in the Gospel According to Luke, “I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones,” and on greed), §7 (PG 31, 276B – 277A.