UpFront with Mary Hendricks, 11/13/2016

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

November 13, 2016

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

No two ways about it: you gotta love a passionate man. In this case, it’s St. Paul. He doesn’t do anything half-way. One hundred and ten percent, baby, all day, every day.

And he is fuming at the Christians of Thessalonica in today’s second reading. They aren’t “keeping busy but (are) minding the business of others.” Uh oh. Isn’t that always the way? Other people’s business is a lot more fun to analyze, criticize, and solve than our own. And it always seems to happen when we have too much time on our hands.

Paul tells them that he tried to give them a good example while he was living among them. Paul was a hard worker who didn’t look for a handout from any place he visited on his missionary journeys. A tentmaker, he made tents, and he must have made a lot of them. He tells the Thessalonians that he worked day and night, “in toil and drudgery,” and wasn’t a burden to anyone. In fact, he warned that those who weren’t willing to work, shouldn’t expect to eat.

But, you know what? Part of the blame is Paul’s.

You see, the Christians in those days were positive that Jesus Christ was coming back any minute. They fully expected the Son of Man to break through the clouds, swoop them up, and take them to heaven. That’s what Paul preached in his first letter to the Thessalonians. So, they just figured they’d sit back and wait for it. Why get your hands dirty when the end was coming soon?

What the people didn’t understand is that the best way to prepare for the Second Coming is the way they lived every day. If they’re living lazy lives, filling their days with gossip, that’s not how they want Jesus to find them. Paul advises them: “Work quietly and eat your own food.” That’s a pretty direct way of putting it. Get busy and shut up.

So, are we busy enough to shut up? I’m not. To help myself get busier, I found these verses. They may help you, too.

1) “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:14) If we are taking time to build relationships, if we are generously giving our time, talent, and treasure to those who need our help, if we treat others the way we want to be treated, that takes a lot of energy. We won’t have time to talk about them if we are spending our time loving them.

2) “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (Matthew 25:40) Serve. Let’s stop thinking about how we can be served and serve others. We have several ways you can be involved—check the bulletin! Let’s get out of that way of thinking that Church is only on Sundays. We are Church all week long!

3) “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16) LEARN! Don’t stop learning about your faith. Read the Bible, come to GIFT, find a Scripture study group! We may have gone to Catholic school 40 years ago, but we haven’t learned everything.

4) “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25) Go to Mass! Worship your Lord. Pray! The closer we are to God, the closer he will be to us. That’s a promise!







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