Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(I Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:27-32)
Thessalonica was a prominent city in northern Greece. It was situated along the great Roman highway, Via Egnatia, about one hundred miles west of Philippi, Paul’s first stop after he crossed the Hellespont into Europe. Thessalonica had a Jewish synagogue as well as various pagan temples. Paul was evidently successful in preaching to both kinds of people there.
One reason for Paul’s success was probably his willingness to do physical work for his keep. Today’s reading from his letter mentions his “working day and night in order not to burden” anyone. Probably this means that he labored by day at his tent-making craft and at night preaching to the people. As evidenced by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in our own time, people generally accept missionaries who do not have their hands out.
Paul emphasizes that the Thessalonians are receptive not so much of him and his companions as of the word of God which they preach. They are but men, but their message has a divine thrust. It acts with unrelenting power to square motives and thinking with righteous action and a renewing spirit. This same word of God has remade us also as true children of God.