From Deacon's Bench
By Deacon John
Monday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time - June 1, 2020
The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church
2 Thessalonians 3: 10b - 13
Today, In addition to the restart of Ordinary Time in the Church’s Liturgical year, we honor the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church” The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, an office in the Vatican that is in charge of these matters, decreed that this day be marked with “joyous veneration given the Mother of God by the Contemporary Church”. We have therefore yet another great Spiritual reality for our reflection, Our Mother Mary. Today, as we carry on with all that we need to do, let our hearts and minds recall Mary’s response to God. Her “yes” set in motion for us the blessed opportunity for our salvation.
We return today to Ordinary time in the liturgical calendar. There are two Special seasons in the Church’s liturgical calendar: Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. Each of these seasons provide us with much in the life of Jesus.
When we speak of Ordinary time, we aren’t using that term to mean mundane or boring. How could anything in the life of Jesus be mundane? Boring? Not even the slightest chance. Instead, when we use the term “Ordinary Time” we speak of how Jesus, everyday, lived, taught, preached and proclaimed the Kingdom of God to all people.
For our reflection today we turn to St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonans. Most probably written by him in the late 50’s - early 60’s AD, from what biblical scholars tell us.
What a time to have been alive! Imagine, 60 AD is less than 30 years after the Resurrection of our Blessed Lord. There are Apostles still alive who actually walked with Jesus, saw His great miracles, listened to the Sermon on the Mount! I sometimes wonder if in 2000 years from now if the Christians in the yer 4020 will be a bit envious of us since we lived only 2000 years since Jesus’ Resurrection!
Christian Communities were being born all over the world. There wasn’t a lot of structure, certainty no Vatican in Rome with various Offices to guide and direct the faithful as we have today. People had differing ideas about Jesus, His Words and what they meant.
The Church in Thessalonica was no different. Many people had the idea that Jesus’ return to fulfill the Kingdom of God was imminent. His return was to occur at any moment. That being the case, it was thought, why are we wasting our time going to work? Pay taxes, not needed because Jesus is coming soon.
Except Jesus didn’t return soon. In fact we still are praying everyday that “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”. To this day we await the return of our blessed Lord.
St Paul has heard about some in the Church Community who have adopted this way of life. He has written them and will visit them to continue his teaching. Some we read, in today’s scripture, have decided not to work. For St Paul this is unacceptable “anyone who would not work should not eat”. There were some who infringe on the generosity of others while not contributing to physical needs of the community. “We hear that some of you are unruly, not keeping busy but acting like busy bodies” There are some who are, to be blunt, sticking their nose where it doesn't belong.
Some people are more than willing to tell others how to live their lives yet aren’t lifting a finger to help the community. This Is unacceptable. In every community there are needs. Some are financial, others material, always there are Spiritual needs that must be met.
This is why the Holy Spirit has given to each person gifts and talents that help the community. For some of us that means we have to get up each day and head off to work so we can support our families and our Church communities.
St Paul continues to encourage the Thessalonians when he writes to them: “We urge you strongly in the Lord Jesus Christ, to earn the food they eat by working quietly”. There is great dignity in honest work. Work, even though at times is stressful and might even be boring, helps fulfill worth and purpose. St Paul wants the Thessalonians to know that while we all await the return of our Blessed Lord, until He does come, we have lives to live.
Lives given us by God for His Glory. Even though work may feel burdensome, its ends are for the glory of God and the betterment of our communities. Think about how terrible it has been with the sudden unemployment in the wake of COVID 19 Virus. After several days, the need to “get back to work” had become somewhat of a rallying cry.
For us all, we take St Paul’s words to heart “you must never grow weary of doing what is right, brothers”. Doing right, doing what Christ asked of us to care for neighbors and to Love God above all things is how we are to live until His blessed return.
Peace and Blessings,
We pray today that our hearts and minds be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and that we have the courage to follow God with our whole lives.