Scripture: Lectionary # 426. I Thess. 2:1-8. Psalm 139:1-3.4-6. Matthew
Paul's great affection for the people of Thesslonica warms our hearts as we
hear his inspired words. They are directed to us who too are the people of
God, God's Church or assembly of the faithful. Paul gives us two images of
himself; he is an apostle and therefore a preacher of Good News; he is a
nurse taking care of the infants entrusted to him in their new life of
faith in the person of Jesus the Anointed One. His primary goal is to
preach (kerygein) the Good News as a proclamation (kerygma) and secondarily
as their teacher he also will instruct them (didaskein) in the rudiments of
the faith. Kerygma is announced and basically is the story of Jesus'
saving mysteries of his suffering, death, and resurrection--the background
for true preaching of the Gospel and not moralizing. The people have
responded well as Paul has learned from Timothy and Silvanus who are in
Phillipi or Macedonia. Paul is writing from Corinth and has depended on
what he has heard from his two favored disciples. He tells us: "we were
among you as gentle as any nursing mother fondling her little ones."
We are listening to the seven woes against the Pharisees but need to
abstract from that since Matthew is framing these lines in reference to his
Church and its times where he is trying to keep both Gentiles and Jews who
have embraced Jesus as Messiah together. The woes should never be
inflicted upon Jews as some preachers have done in the past. Looking at
what Jesus seems to be teaching we learn that mixed among these seven woes
(we are in the second) are justice, mercy, and good faith. We learn that
our external behavior and even appearance should match what is really
inside of us, namely, the Spirit of God and an open heart toward others.
Our prayer: "Lord, we thank you for the apostles and their companions who
have brought the Good News to all peoples. We are grateful that we have
the Scriptures to guide us and often are exposed to the Glad Tidings by
those who preach the Gospel with transparency by allowing your living voice
to overshadow their own. We realize that often we are exposed more to
teaching than hearing the Good News and they were definitely different in
the early church. One was the kerygma or the heralding of the Glad Tidings
or Good News the other is called the Didache and is the formal teaching of
things that are expected of the followers of Jesus in their behavior and
words. We need both of these for growing in our faith, Lord, and we ask you
that we be open to receiving your message especially the Glad Tidings so
necessary to day as we hear and read of bad news and sad news each day.
Help us to be living preachers of the Gospel (kerygma) that you have handed
on to the Churches founded upon the apostles. Amen."
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