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Thursday, August 26, 1999

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1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Psalm 90
Matthew 24:42-51

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conscious of his coming?

"May He strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones." —1 Thessalonians 3:13

The early Church was very conscious that Jesus may come back at any time (see Mt 24:44). Some even quit their jobs because they conjectured that so little time was left (2 Thes 3:10ff). Some early Christians were upset when their loved ones had died before Christ's final coming. They reasoned that their deceased loved ones had missed out on God's kingdom. However, Paul assured them: "We say to you, as if the Lord Himself had said it, that we who live, who survive until His coming, will in no way have an advantage over those who have fallen asleep" (1 Thes 4:15). Some early Christians were "easily agitated or terrified, whether by an oracular utterance, or rumor, or a letter alleged to be (Paul's) into believing that the day of the Lord" and Christ's coming was happening (2 Thes 2:2). Peter was compelled to counsel the early Christians to remain sober and sane so that they could pray, because the consummation of all was near at hand (1 Pt 4:7). The first Christians so strongly believed in Christ's imminent, final coming that they were ridiculed when Jesus did not return in the first decades of the Church's existence. "Mocking, sneering men" asked: "Where is that promised coming of His?" (2 Pt 3:3, 4) Nevertheless, the Church continued to pray and shout "Maranatha!" ("Come, Lord Jesus!") (Rv 22:20; 1 Cor 16:22)

How many times have you thought of Jesus' second coming today? "Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming" (Mt 24:42).

Prayer:  Lord, as we watch for Your coming, increase us and make us "overflow with love for one another and for all" (1 Thes 3:12).

Promise:  "We have been much consoled by your faith throughout our distress and trial — so much so that we shall continue to flourish only if you stand firm in the Lord!" —1 Thes 3:7-8

Praise:  José, a sixteen-year-old, prays a rosary daily for the welfare of his friends.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 22, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 24, 1999