In the first reading today from 2 Thessalonians 3, St. Paul talks about the importance of work. More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 23, Jesus continues to pronounce woes on the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus pulled no punches with these characters. “On the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”
St. Paul was not someone who was looking for a free ride. In fact, quite the opposite. He writes about this in 2 Thessalonians. “In toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you…We wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.” St. Paul acknowledges that this did not have to be the case. As a laborer in God’s vineyard, he had a right to expect that the people would care for his needs. But he would have no part of that. And he expected all to follow his example.
“We instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” St. Paul was all about taking care of the poor and infirm, the widow and the orphan. But he had no patience for the freeloader. Those of us who are able should first thank God, then set our hand to the plow and work hard, both in the temporal and spiritual realms. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!!