Paul begins his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians with a prayer of thanks to God for this Christian community: “We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters…”. We also give thanks to God with Paul for our Christian community here at St. Francis Parish as we join in prayer as brothers and sisters. Paul continues his prayer by noting the hallmarks of a true Christian community, faith and love: “because your faith flourishes even more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.” A true Christian community must never be static, its faith and trust in God and love for others must continue to grow and develop. Paul tells us that our Christian community must be open to the promptings of the Spirit and empowered by the grace of God.
Paul continues his prayer with a petition for us as a community. Our growth comes from the grace of God alive in the community. So, Paul prays for us: “…that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith…in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” Through our baptism each of us is called to be members of the Body of Christ. As daughters and sons of God we call God Abba and can call one another sisters and brothers in faith.
Paul’s prayer tells us who we are as a Christian community but also who we are called to be. We are called to be the Body of Christ, to be the real presence of Jesus to one another and to our world. Each day we are called to know Jesus better, to encounter Jesus in a personal way and to strive to follow his way more closely. This is a real challenge for us today as it was for the first Christians since we hear many different voices and callings telling us this is the true way, or this is God’s will. So, we always need to return to Jesus who shows us the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Let us give thanks to God for showing us this way of love and faith in Jesus Christ.
Image: “2019 worship dance video | ‘Eternal Praise and Thankfulness to God’” by F Addison is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.