If you mention the Letters to the Thessalonians to anyone with even a slight acquaintance with Paul’s letters, they will almost certainly think immediately of the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of the Lord. This is a good reason why extracts from these letters are read as Second Readings at the close of two of our liturgical years: on five Sundays at the end of Year A in the Catholic Sunday lectionary; and on three Sundays at the end of Year C. (The actual last Sunday of each year, the Feast of Christ the King, has its own readings.)
It is appropriate, then, at this time of year when we visit Thessalonica in our liturgy, to familiarise ourselves with the life of this community of Christians who practised our faith when it was young. There are three brief texts from which we can learn about them, and they teach us that worries about the Last Days were just part of the picture. These texts are 13 verses from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 17:1-13), the 89 verses (five chapters) of Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians and the 47 verses (three chapters) of Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians.