Worthiness

Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed
either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
(2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2)   

 

Scripture Study

1:11 we always pray: Paul and his coworkers practice what they preach on the subject of continuous prayer (1 Thess 5:17).
1:12 our God and the Lord Jesus Christ: Several times Paul mentions the close relationship between the Father and the Son in his Thessalonian letters (1:1, 2; 2:16; 1 Thess 1:1; 3:11).
2:1 the coming of our Lord: The return of Christ, who will come again in glory (Acts 1:11) to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42). our assembling: Believers, both living and deceased, will be taken up with the Lord into heavenly glory (1 Thess 4:16–17).
2:2 shaken … or excited: False prophets are unsettling Paul’s readers, whose suffering and affliction seem to reinforce allegations that the tribulation of the last days is under way and is about to give way to the Second Coming (1:6; 1 Thess 2:14). by spirit or by word: I.e., by charismatic revelations. These need to be measured against apostolic teaching in order to test their authenticity (1 Cor 14:29; 1 Thess 5:20–21). by letter: I.e., by a forged document claiming to come from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (1:1). Paul considers this a form of deception (2:3). the day of the Lord: The Day of Judgment. See note on 1 Thess 5:2.[1]

 

Reflection

“We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling.”

I think we suffer from an unhealthy and misinformed understanding of worthiness when it comes to our relationship with God. We are pretty tough on ourselves, some more so than otherswhen it comes to who is and is not worthy. And we use the sacraments as rewards and punishment in judgment of the worthiness or unworthiness of individuals. We judge others as we judge ourselves. But we judge according to our standards, not according to God’s standards.

What this all means, brothers and sisters, is that the matter of WORTHINESS before God does not depend on our efforts as humans, sinners and imperfect that we are before the Lord and before one another. Worthiness before the Lord is God’s initiative to make us worthy before Him. He takes us imperfect human beings, he takes us sins and all, and make us worthy. Worthiness is God’s initiative.

The misconception and misunderstanding of this Divine initiative has caused many of us a lot of heart aches and grief. We ourselves by our self-imposed rules and regulations, or by the Church’s overly legalistic and rigid interpretation and application of the law especially in recent years has hurt many Catholic Christians. As a result, many have gone without the sacraments for years believing that they are unworthy. Many have left the Church and either joined other Churches of stop going to Church altogether.

It is time that we recognize who is ultimately in charge, who is ultimately making us worthy. Let the compassionate God take care of the matters we cannot or should not handle. Let God be God. Let God read the hearts, the sincerity or insincerity of other people. We must allow good Catholics to use their conscience. We ought not to judge lest we be by judged harshly by God.

– Fr. Fred Bugarin

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 382.