Correction does much, but encouragement does more. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: (1749 - 1832: German poet, playwright, and novelist)
Scripture Text: (HEB 3:7-14)
The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
"Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, 'They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.'
As I swore in my wrath,
'They shall not enter into my rest.'"
Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today,"
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.
One of the most important gifts that we've received from the Holy Spirit is the ability to encourage others, because it brings heaven to earth. How? Encouragement helps people avoid sin. That's why today's first reading from Mass instructs us to: Encourage one another every day, so that no one succumbs to the deceit of sin.
We are encouragers whenever we listen attentively to what others share and then affirm their goodness and remind them that God loves them. Our encouragement helps others go back into difficult situations with renewed courage and energy.
An encourager does not try to save others from their problems, because that's the job of THE Savior. We help people get through their problems by pointing them to God's help particularly by the way we live our lives daily. We are the vocal chords and the arms of Christ's body as he reaches out to heal those who are hurting. We are his ears as we listen between the words of what each person is saying. We are his hands as he gives them a gentle touch that says, "I care." We are his feet as he walks alongside them when we join them in their battles.