Homily for Mass, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent, Ottawa

[Readings: 1 Thess 5:1-6, 9-11;  Ps 27;  Lk 4:31-37]


When we listen to the first reading, there’s a certain obviousness to what St Paul is saying.  We have the revelation of Jesus … we know that our life here on earth is just for a time, and that it can be over in an instant, and that in fact, this life is a prelude to a more wondrous life in the blessedness of heaven.  And yet we do seem to forget.  We are surprised by death!  We act as though this is it, that there is nothing more.  The things that we get wrapped up in seem to indicate that earthly matters are more important than the ultimate destiny to which all people are called.


And so, almost as a remedy to this forgetfulness, St Paul exhorts his hearers: Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.  Earlier he had spoken of how we are all children of light and children of the day.  Therefore we have to let that light of God shine into us into all those places that need to be lifted up.  Just as Jesus shone the light of the kingdom on the man who had the spirit of an unclean demon and so freed and healed him.


Not only into ourselves, we need to let God’s light shine through us to others:  encouraging and building each other up.  It’s easy, isn’t it, to get caught up in negativity?!  To focus on other’s faults and their failings.  Even when those things are glaringly obvious – and indeed particularly when they are obvious – all the more do we need to lovingly encourage and build each other up.  We’re to help one another to truly live as children of light and children of the day.


As we offer Mass this morning, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us be alert to the ways that we can encourage and build each other up today.  Let’s pray that our attempts to live as children of the light will draw others deeper into God’s kingdom.