Monday, August 26, 2013

The beginning

We get so accustomed to the books of the Old Testament being in their current order,all bound together in a single book that we can forget that the New Testament is not a book in the ordinary sense. The Books of the New Testament were not written in the order presented.

Today's first reading may seem odd, nothing more that the greeting of one of Paul's letters. Historically, it is much more. Written around 51 AD, the First Letter of Paul to the fledgling church in Thessolonica is the oldest of Paul's letters and most certainly Paul's. It may be the first book of the New Testament that was put in writing.

In his simple salutation we find two words that are at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian χάρις (grace) and ειρήνη (peace). It has been almost two millennia since St. Paul wrote those words and yet we still struggle to fully understand the power of God's grace or what true peace is and how to live in it.

Perhaps today is a good time for each of us to look deep into our hearts and ask where these words fit. How deeply do I believe in grace, particularly the grace available in the sacraments? And do I strive to live each day enveloped in the peace of Christ?