Therefore, encourage one another.
Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians around AD 51, only about twenty years after Jesus’ resurrection. Like many believers at the time, the believers in Thessalonica were expecting Jesus to return very soon and usher in the kingdom in its fullness. Paul, however, set the record straight: don’t worry about when Jesus comes again; concentrate on how ready you’ll be. Stay sober and alert, and spend your energy encouraging one another and building one another up.
Two thousand years later, Paul’s advice is just as relevant. We don’t know when Jesus will come again—it might even be today or tomorrow! So while we always need to be ready, we should focus on helping each other to stay faithful to the Lord.
We often think of encouragement in terms of what we say to people. That’s important, of course. But have you ever thought that you encourage others by what you do for them? Here are some examples:
• Barbara was missing her regular quiet time with the Lord each morning. Her alarm would go off, but she just kept hitting the snooze button. Hearing this, her friend Claire promised to wake her up for the next two weeks with an early morning phone call. That helped Barbara to get back on track.
• George’s recuperation from surgery was taking longer than expected, and he felt useless and unproductive. So his wife, Jane, asked him to join her in intercessory prayer for other people’s needs. George agreed and discovered that as he prayed for other people, his own trust in God deepened.
• Jason, a college student, noticed that his friend Ryan had stopped attending Mass. So he offered to accompany Ryan to the evening Mass on campus and invited him to join his Bible study. That led Ryan to rediscover the Lord and become excited about his faith.
Who might need your encouragement today? Perhaps you can think of something you can do to lift up that person. You can be sure that whatever you do will encourage you as well. Then both of you will be more ready to meet Jesus when he comes again in glory.
“Lord, thank you for the people in my life who have encouraged me.”
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14