One of the reasons that the Jews sought to condemn Jesus was because He did things which were outside of Jewish law. He worked on the Sabbath for instance. In response to this particular accusation Christ tells them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). It is with these words that we see the truth of God’s constant providing care for the world. Although the book of Genesis tells us God rested on the seventh day, this doesn’t mean that He, because of His rest, abandons the world.
Instead, the providence of God embraces all things, providing not only for the great and immense but also for the small and apparently insignificant, not only for heaven and earth, angels and men but even the smallest of the creatures. Psalm 146 says He “covers the heavens with clouds…prepares rain for the earth…makes grass to grow on the mountains…gives to the beast its food. And to the young ravens that cry.” The providence of God, in other words, is extended to all the world.
Christ Himself says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from My Father’s will” (Matt. 10:29). Seeing how God provides for even the smallest of creatures can there be any doubt that He doesn’t know what is in our hearts as well?
In fact, man is the chief object of God’s Fatherly Providence on earth. And God knows everything about man, from our most intimate thoughts as the Psalmist David writes, “…You understand me from afar off…”, to our every sigh, “…my sighing is not hidden from You…”. Christ reassures us saying, “…your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But first seek the kingdom of God…and these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 11:32,33). The only thing that is required of us is that put our faith in God, that in doing His will we, with our entire being, place our trust in Him.
Placing our trust in God requires, to a certain extent, realizing our own nothingness, to constantly be reminded of our weaknesses. For, in the end, one who is completely sure of himself has no real need of place their trust and faith in anyone else but themselves. Though we might be quite intelligent, clever, full of energy and strength Scripture reminds us that the “Lord..maketh the rich” (I Kings 2:7). It is the Lord who, in giving us strength and intelligence, allows us to attain earthly riches and subsequently the only obvious reaction should not be to take personal pride in all of our achievements but consider them as gifts, blessings from God.
The prophet Isaiah says, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight” (Is. 5:21). God detests this evil conceit in all of us. Instead, there is nothing He loves more than one who has a sincere awareness of his own nothingness and a firm conviction that all good things come from above. And in God’s providing care for all living things He has planted the heavenly seed in the hearts of all men urging them not to value themselves and rely on themselves. As the Psalmist writes, “It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man” (Ps. 118:8).
The Providence of God over His creation is ceaseless and inseparable, even though we receive this activity in different forms and appearances in a changing world. In other words, His Providence is not an interference in the course of life, it’s not a series of private intrusions of God’s will into the life of the world. Which is to say that God is not in heaven waiting for us to pray to Him so that He can change the way things are for our benefit. Rather, the life of the world is constantly in God’s right hand: “My Father has been working until now and I have been working”. Blessed Augustine writes, “the world cannot stand for an instant if God were to remove His Providence from it.”
Having this in mind we shouldn’t be surprised when we hear in this morning’s gospel how St. Matthew writes that Jesus, upon forgiving the sins of the paralytic that was brought to Him, was critizised by the Jews and we read, “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?” (Matt. 9:4). He knew what the Jewish people were thinking, what the Gentiles were thinkings, He knew what His Disciples were thinking when He asked them, “Who do you say I am?” In that same way does He know our thoughts when He asks us that very same question. He knows our thoughts when we pray to Him and our desires better than we do. Indeed, He knows us better than we know ourselves!
Ours is to put our faith and trust in God, to open our hearts and let God inside, realizing that everything comes from Him just as all things belong to Him. With this faith we are to constantly thank God for the little miracles and blessings that He bestows upon us, that together with the multitude’s from this morning’s gospel, we “marvel and glorify” God, always in this life and unto the ages of ages. Amen.