Memorial of Saint Monica
(I Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 23:23-26)
Many Catholic parents of adult children today readily identify with St. Monica. Their children just do not care about religion. They may or may not identify themselves with the faith, but they do not go to Mass and readily express disagreement with Church teaching. Like Monica these parents pray fervently for their children and, hopefully again like her, remind them of not just the glorious destiny that Catholic Christians have but the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.
St. Paul in the reading today sees himself as a similar loving mother. He writes, “…we were gentle among you as a nursing mother cares for her infants.” He means that like a mother he loved his spiritual children so much that he was patient in his initial preaching to the Thessalonians taking pains to explain the gospel in simple terms and also that he sacrificed himself for them by practicing his trade of tent-making rather than burden them for his upkeep.
We must be careful not to take up the erroneous ideas of the young. Surely they have things to teach us like tolerance for different races, but we have something more essential that like Paul to the Thessalonians we have to impart – the truth that salvation comes from the self-sacrificing love of Jesus which all are called to imitate.