Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1 Thes 3:7-13; Ps 90:3-5a,12-14,17; Mt 24:42-51

“Prosper the work of our hands.”

All saints want their brothers and sisters to enjoy a new life in Christ. So we pray with a great heart and with many tears for the conversion of sinners. Anyone who has come to know and love the Lord has a burning desire that all come to know and love the Lord. Such a missionary desire flows out of a life filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and overflowing with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we could never fully enjoy the abundant life in Christ until we can share that life with all whom we meet. Saints have but one regret that is really two regrets, that growth in prayer didn’t happen earlier and that this new life in Christ is not shared among all people. We who have begun to live in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit shout for joy and gladness because of the gracious care of the LORD. The Lord Jesus teaches us, his beloved spouse, to number their days aright and gain wisdom of heart. The LORD had pity on his servants. The LORD prospered the work of their hands. Saint Paul rejoices with the same kind of gladness because the Thessalonians have been converted and now live in faith. In today’s gospel the Lord Jesus directs his challenge to his disciples: stay awake!”

Like Saint Paul we are able to endure distress and affliction. Indeed, they both offered in sacrifice the broken heartedness of wayward children. Even in our own day many children reject the faith of their parents and rebel against the values in which they were raised. Such suffering is a perfect sacrifice in Christ. Night and day these faith-filled parents pray beyond measure to see their children and remedy any deficiencies. Indeed, these loving intercessors grow in union with the Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus. They pray with confidence that the Lord Jesus make them increase and abound in love for one another and for all. They pray for the LORD to strengthen their hearts and those of their beloved. Indeed, they dare to pray for blameless hearts and true holiness in all who have turned away. The patience of Saint Paul for his spiritual children is a shining example in our world of fast food and instant satisfaction. We need to see how the Gospel transforms our painful concern to powerful prayer in the lives of the saints. Such a brilliant witness provides us with boundless hope in all our prayer.

The Lord Jesus has been challenging his opponents, the scribes and Pharisees, with warnings of “woe” and accusations of “hypocrite.” Now, he brings these harsh and challenging words into his instructions for the disciples. Like the first followers of the Lord Jesus, we must stay awake and be alert. There is no vacation from the vocation to sanctity. All the baptized are summoned to holiness, here and now, and forever and ever. We too have no idea on which day the LORD will return to judge the quick and the living. The Lord Jesus has a parable for all who call themselves disciples. In this story the LORD himself is a thief. He comes to steal away our life as we know it. He comes when least expected. He comes after a long delay. What will he find among us? Will there be violence and abuse among us? Will there be carelessness and carousing among us? Will the LORD have to punish us severely and assign us a place among the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth? Perhaps we will be humble enough to embrace this warning parable and seek his face. Perhaps our lives will be one great adventure of grace after another great adventure of grace. Perhaps we will grow from glory to glory. Such is the Father’s will for all his beloved sons and daughters. Is it our will for ourselves and for our beloved?


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