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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

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St. Monica

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
Psalm 128
Matthew 23:27-32

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work for the unemployed

"You shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; happy shall you be, and favored." —Psalm 128:2

St. Paul told us to avoid people who wander "from the straight path," and who do not "follow the tradition received from" the Church (2 Thes 3:6). These people should be temporarily ostracized from the Church (2 Thes 3:6, 14). What abominable crime had these people committed to warrant excommunication? Their sin was that they did not work and therefore they depended on others for food.

Paul said these people were living "lives of disorder" (2 Thes 3:7). He laid "down the rule that anyone who would not work should not eat" (2 Thes 3:10). Paul, of course, believed in feeding the starving. He knew that whatever we do to the least of the brethren, we do for Jesus (Mt 25:40). He took up a collection for the starving Christians in Jerusalem (Rm 15:26; Acts 24:17). Paul, however, believed in providing food only for those who could not work to provide their own food.

Paul's teaching can be understood to mean people should work and not be on welfare. Most people feel that those on welfare don't want to work. Many, however, do want to work, but lack training and opportunities. Giving others work is work in itself. If we can provide even temporary work for the unemployed, the Lord wants us to work at it.

Prayer:  Father, bless the work of our hands.

Promise:  "Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord." —Ps 128:4

Praise:  St. Monica worked at her son's conversion by suffering, visiting, introducing him to good Christians, and "praying always and not losing heart" (Lk 18:1).

Reference:  (Mothers and Daughters: a retreat weekend just for you, Oct. 24 & 25. Nurture your relationship with a focus on God's will, and enjoy the fall foliage at our retreat center in Adams County, OH. Call 937-587-5464 or 513-373-2397 with questions or to register.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008

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