St Joseph Pignatelli SJ

This weekend is Saturday the 14 November, the feast of St Joseph Pignatelli SJ, and Sunday the 15 November, beginning the 33rd week of Ordinary Time.  

The monks of the Abbey of Keur Moussa sing: Le Seigneur est Roi: “The Lord is King, with majesty enrobed; the Lord has robed himself with might; he has girded himself with power.” As I listen, can I imagine God like this, as King of the world?  And the people around me (my neighbours, colleagues, family), the whole world around me, as God’s kingdom?  

This weekend’s reading is from the first letter to the Thessalonians.  

Thessalonians 5:1-6  

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober...      

In this letter to the Thessalonians, St Paul has been speaking of the prophetic return of the Christ. The ‘day of the Lord’ that will replace the day of Man. Paul has no foretelling of when this day will be, so he can only implore his communities to ‘keep awake’. Paul also knows that there is no putting off the day once the Lord has decided. Just like the labour pains of a pregnant woman – what will follow is unavoidable. How does this message seem to me? What does the ‘Day of the Lord’ say to me? Does it raise hopes or anxieties? Or both?  

Paul was with the Thessalonians for only a few weeks but they have taken the ‘Good News’ to heart and so he is able to say to them ‘you are not in darkness…you are children of the light and of the day’.  It is a great reassurance to hear  – ‘even though….you are blessed’. When I am feeling overwhelmed, do I hear the confidence that the Lord has in me.  Do I ask for the strength to stay awake, to respond where I am needed?  

Listen to the reading again. Hear the faith and reassurance that Paul has in his community, in you.  

In your prayer ask for the opportunity to show yourself as a child of light and of the day.    

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen