The Coming of Christ

First Reading: 2 Thes 1:1-5, 11-12

Psalm: Ps. 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5

Gospel: Mt. 23:13-22

The two letters of Paul to Thessalonians are the earliest writings of the New Testament. Both were composed about 25 years after the Lord’s Resurrection. In the first of these two letters Paul insists that the Day of the Lord, Christ’s second coming, will come like a thief in the night. Therefore, Paul says, we must always be on the watch for it, we must always be ready.

Unfortunately, some of the Thessalonians misinterpreted Paul. They believed that if the day of the Lord were imminent, there was no sense whatsoever in engaging in the normal activities of life. The only thing was to wait for Jesus’ arrival and to welcome him. These Christians abandoned their responsibilities to family, community and state.

Paul therefore wrote the second letter to quiet the Thessalonians. He wanted to calm them down, to get them to discontinue their excited idleness, to pursue their daily work patiently and diligently.

The words Paul uses in his thoughts and suggestions in his introduction of this letter are gentle and encouraging. He tells the Thessalonians that he is impressed by the way they have been growing not only in their faith but also in their love for each other. He assures them that he has even boasted to other churches about how they have persevered in the midst of their persecutions and trials. He ends today’s reading with a prayer, begging God make the Thessalonians worthy of the call he has given them.