Year C: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: based on St Paul’s second Letter to Thessalonians 3: 7-12
The expectation that the world is going to end very soon can provide an excellent excuse for not working - after all, what is the point of slaving yourself into the ground if the end of the world is nigh? The fact that you could still get food without working was an added bonus! From the tone of St Paul’s letter, this was the attitude that some of the Thessalonians had taken and he had decided that it was time to lay the law down
Obviously there are people who cannot work - but for most of us the work of caring and providing for ourselves and our families is a responsibility we can’t avoid. Even if Jesus were to return later this week, we still have to eat and ensure that our children - or elderly or disabled dependants - are cared for in the meantime.
Although we are looking forward to the day when we can lay our work aside - and have days when we would love to pack it all in - we are also made in the image of a Creator God. Though He had a mission laid upon Him, Jesus spent most of His life working in the family business as a carpenter.
Work is about who we are but this is not simply a matter of the work we get paid for - much of the work that makes the world go round is unpaid. Some people have “hobbies” that are work too - gardeners - needleworkers - artists - all contribute to the life of the world even though they may not be paid for what they do.
St Paul, in fact, would have recognised these things as work - as the work that entitled them to eat! It is only in fairly recent times that people have defined work as only what they get paid for.
What Paul is arguing against are the people who are lazy - who sit around - who waste their own time - and everybody else’s by idle gossip and chat. These are the ones who need to think again!
What does it mean for me?
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