(World Day of the Poor)
THEME: DON’T STOP AT THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRE
(Malachi 3:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21: 5-19)
One passing through fire doesn’t need to stop at the middle of burning fire, patient endurance is rather needed to walk through or run over. You don’t need to stop. Persevere in doing good till the end.
The first reading is taken from the prophet Malachi. Malachi is one of the twelve Minor Prophets. While the prophet is regarded as a minor prophet, his prophecy is by no means a minor prophecy. In the part of Malachi read today, the prophet talks about the day of judgement. On that day there will be separation of good from evil. There will be destruction of the wicked and triumph of the good, those who persevere till the end
The second reading comes from the concluding part of the second letter of Paul to the Thessalonians. It was written to correct the error among early Christians. At that time many of the Christians believed that the return of Christ was to be in the nearest future. Due to this belief, many Christians began to live in idleness. They abandoned their trade and work so as to wait for the return of Christ. There was no need for them to work since the end was near. Those who did not to work constituted burdens to the others. They had to get their daily bread from others as they passively waited for the return of Christ. Paul corrected this error through this letter, especially in the part read today. The summary of Paul’s instruction is that waiting for the second coming is not an invitation to idleness and passivity.
As the church prepares our minds for the end of time, the church invites us to remain engaged in meaningful, gainful and legitimate activities. We are reminded that work is a virtue. We are therefore encouraged to work hard to earn both their earthly and heavenly living. Good work is another sign of a good Christian.
In the gospel, Jesus talks about the hatred persecution that will befall Christians from rulers, kings and even from family members. He concludes by saying, “Your perseverance will win you your lives”. Persecution for one’s faith calls for patient endurance.
Let us take a moment to think of those people who suffer for their faith. Some people have been denied opportunities because of the faith they profess. Some suffer daily deprivations and persecution because they are Christians; or because of their faith and religion. Christians do not only suffer in the hands of non-Christians. They also suffer in the hands of fellow Christians who are willing to throw away their belief because of some worldly gain.
Patient endurance is needed to remain a committed Christian. Holding on to love, at every crisis which we may confront in our life; with an active faith we will come through our ordeals even stronger in spirit than ever before. That is why Jesus concludes by saying: “Your perseverance will win you your lives”. As we think about the end of time, let us persevere in doing the right thing.