06 Nov Wednesday
I’m struck by the words in the second reading from II Thessalonians the promote the evangelizing work of the Church. “Encouraged and strengthened for every deed and word,” and “so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified.” This remains the work of the church today, although poorly done when one considers the state of homiletics in the US today. The hearts of the people may be admonished, moralized, and denounced, all of which is a far cry from encouraging and strengthening the hearts of the people. I don’t mean some kind of verba up lift, but rather inviting people, offering examples, setting out the high road, and bringing them to love, not fear.
Twice, the brief reading mentions “hearts”. The homiletic appeal is to the heart, not the intellect. Unfortunately, in the United States, hearts hardly means the interior self, but rather some mushy runamuck emotions, a feeling that is transient. It is the will (“direst your hearts”) of the disciple to order this interior transformation by the grace of God stirring up that will in us, for in the opening verse, it is Christ who stirs the will.
Elsewhere, for Paul, this is “conform yourself to Christ.” This is the life of the saints. This is the resurrection in the gospel.