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23RD AUGUST 2022

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3, 14-17;

Psalms 96: 10-13;

Matthew 23: 23-26

There are many prayers in the letters of Saint Paul. As well as encouraging and directing his churches, Paul also prayed for them. There was a real pastoral dimension to his prayer. The needs and struggles of the churches he established were central to his prayer. There is a good example of Saint Paul’s prayer for his churches in first reading. Writing to the church in the Greek city of Thessalonica, Paul prays, ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father… comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word’. It is a striking prayer and one worth reflecting upon. Paul acknowledges God the Father and the risen Lord as the ultimate source of all that is good in our words and actions. God alone is completely good, but, with the Lord’s help, God’s goodness can be reflected to some degree in everything we say and do. It is through the

Lord’s strengthening presence to us that something of his goodness can take flesh in our own lives. In the gospel reading, Jesus spells out this goodness in terms of three basic qualities, ‘justice, mercy, faith’. He was criticizing the religious leaders for becoming obsessed with what is not so important in our relationship with God, the tithing of herbs, and neglecting what is really important, justice, mercy and faith. To act justly is to give to others what is their due as human beings, as sons and daughters of God. To show mercy often means going beyond justice, attending to people’s basic needs irrespective of who they are or what they have done. Faith or faithfulness refers to a loving, faithful relationship with God, finding expression in loving, faithful, relationships with others. Jesus is saying that when it comes to our relationship with God, these are the qualities that really matter. This is the goodness that the Lord desires to find in our lives and tA blessedcan bring about in our lives, if we are truly open to his working, the working of his grace, within us and among us.

Blessed and fruitful day


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