Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
16 Always smile. 17 Don't stop praying. 18 And thank God for everything. This is the life God wants for you as Christians.
19 Don't fight the work of the Spirit. 20 And don't hate words of prophecy. 21 Instead, put such work and words to the test. Keep the good. 22 But reject the bad.
23 The God of peace made you holy, like he is holy. May every part of you be innocent when Jesus returns! 24 The God who calls you is faithful. He will do what he says he will do!
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without end, 18 in everything give thanks. For this (is) the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit, 20 do not hate prophesy, 21 but prove everything, hold on to the good, 22 hold away from every form of evil. 23 The God of peace has completely sanctified you and may all your spirit, soul, and body be kept without fault in the parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is the (One) calling you, who will do (what he promises)
5:23 "parousia" is a theological term for the Second Coming.
How do we live as Christians, even as we anticipate the coming of the Lord?
Paul wrote to a favored community, the Thessalonians. This church had grown strong facing fierce opposition from the Jewish synagogue and the pro-Roman city fathers. Despite his correction concerning the fate of fellow Christians who had died before the Second Coming, Paul wrote in admiration of the their faith and hospitality.
In his concluding remarks, Paul reminded his readers about the essence of Christian living. A positive attitude and prayer life. An openness to God's calling, yet with healthy dose of the common sense.
Paul also reminded his audience of their standing before the Lord. God had already made them holy. May they be faithful to that holiness, even when Jesus returned!
We should take Paul's words to heart. Be open to God and pray always. Be honest, but live with hope. And thank God for all we have.
That should keep us busy for a long time.
Think about this week. What has made you hopeful? What have you thanked God for? How have you been open to God's Spirit in practical ways? In other words, what has God done for you this week?