Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Augustine, B.D., (28th August, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Monday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time (I))

1Thess 1:1-5.8-10;
Ps 149:1-6.9. (R. v.4);
Matt 23:13-22.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (13th November 354 – 28th August 430) was son of Saint Monica. Although he was brought up a Christian and also one of the most intelligent men who ever lived, he spent many years in wicked living and in false beliefs (Manichaeism and neo-Platonism). Through the prayers of his mother and the preaching of Saint Ambrose, he became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion. But he was not converted immediately because he thought he could never live a pure life. On hearing that two men were converted after reading the life of Saint Anthony, he was filled with bitter sorrow and cried to God, “How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?” He was baptized in 386, became a priest, a bishop, a famous Catholic writer, Founder of religious priests. Augustine is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Christian Church, and the Anglican Communion and as a preeminent Doctor of the Church. He overcame strong heresies, was very devout, practiced great poverty, and was also charitable. Augustine preached very often and prayed with great fervour right up until his death. He is the patron of the Augustinians, brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions. [1][2]
Topic: Woe to you....
Today’s gospel is the continuation of last Saturday’s gospel in which Jesus urged His listeners to do and to follow what the scribes and the Pharisees taught because they occupied Moses’ seat. He also warned them against following their example because they did not practice what they taught.
In today’s gospel, Jesus summarized them by naming them hypocrites. He denounced them and also proclaimed woes on them. Their sins include locking people out of the kingdom of heaven, suffering so much to make a convert only to make him/her worse child of hell than themselves, and also feeding the people with false teachings.
Saint Augustine we celebrate today was brought back to the true faith through the prayers of his mother and the preaching of Saint Ambrose. The story would have been different if these did not perform their roles well. Augustine attested to this in these words, “If I am your child, it is because you gave me such a mother.”
Ensure that no one is prevented from following God through your actions, words, and omissions. Every person can be a good channel for the salvation of others. Saint John warns, “Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2Jn 1:8). There will be woes to anyone who fails to be a channel of salvation to others.
Bible Readings: 2Jn 7-11.
Thought for today: You are a channel of salvation.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to be your sincere children – Amen.
 Saint Augustine – Pray for us.
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