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Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Rel., (21st June, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time (II))
 
Sir 48:1-14;
Ps 96:1-7. (R. v.12);
Matt 6:7-15.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (March 9, 1568 – June 21, 1591) was an Italian aristocrat who became a member of the Society of Jesus after a four-year contest with his father who wanted him to be a military hero. While caring for the victims of an epidemic that struck Rome in 1591, he caught the disease and died a student. He was beatified on October 19, 1605, by Pope Paul V and canonized on December 31, 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII, all in Rome. He is the patron Saint of young students, Christian youth, Jesuit scholastics, the blind, AIDS patients, and AIDS care-givers.
Topic: Towards effective prayer.
How a request is made contributes considerably to its being received favourably or not. As a result, before approaching anyone for assistance, one of the things people get clear in their heads is how best to do the presentation. Sometimes people meet either those close to the people or those whose requests were granted for advice.
Saint John’s gospel reads: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (Jn 1:18). Again, “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man” (Jn 3:13). That only Son who knows the best way to the Father’s heart thought us how best to achieve this. In today’s gospel, He started with the first step, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.” He emphasized, “Do not be like them....”
Do you think we follow this advice while praying today? What about shouting as if God hears more readily those who shout more than others? Where is the difference between Christian prayers and that of the prophets of Baal, cf. 1Kg 18:26-29. Jesus also said, “... your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Whoever fails this first step most certainly will end up not praying to God. We remember the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee heaped up empty phrases in the name of prayer, cf. Lk 18:11-12. On the other hand, although the tax collector uttered just a sentence but God heard him, cf. Lk 18:13-14.
Our help comes from the LORD, cf. Ps 121:2. He works for those who wait for him, cf. Is 64:4. Let us wait for Him praying as Christians and not Gentiles. He is our refuge, cf. Ps 62:8. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga we celebrate today has something to emphasize. As one spends long hours praying, he/she must not forget that the God he/she is praying to is very close by, cf. Matt 25:40,45. He nursed, washed and made the beds of patients because he saw Jesus in them irrespective of status, colour, race, and so on.
Bible Reading: Ps 121:1-8; Lk 18:9-14.
Thought for today: Our help comes from the Lord, cf. Ps 121:2.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to pray as you have thought us – Amen.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga – Pray for us.
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