ST AUGUSTINE, B.D. (Memorial) White
Augustine was trained in the Christian faith by his mother Monica; however, he lost his faith and led a wild life. Between the ages of 15 through 30, he fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus (the gift of God). He became a Manichaean, which taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. Augustine was later converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of St. Ambrose of Milan. He founded a monastery after the death of his mother and oversaw his church as Bishop of Hippo during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: “Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.” Augustine is a Doctor of the Church.
First Reading: 1Thes 1:1-5. 8b-10; Psalm: 149. R. v. 4a; Gospel: Mt 23:13-22
SAFEGUARDING THE FAITH
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. (Mt 23:15)
In today’s gospel, Jesus begins his list of woes to the scribes and Pharisees. These men are zealous about the things of God. As Jesus said, they can traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte. Their missionary itinerary and disposition to go far and near just to convert a single soul to become a full Jew is very commendable. However, the pitfall is that they inadvertently end up misleading their converts to destruction. Jesus pronounced ‘woe’ upon them as a way to rebuke this lifestyle and bring to their consciousness the harm they cause without knowing.
No father brings a child into the world with the intention to mislead and destroy the future of that child. No teacher teaches a student to fail or to become a notorious person in the future. The point of Jesus is so clear. We should mean well for those we lead and also create time to reflect on how our actions and inactions affect them. It is better to leave a person in a fairly safe place than to drag the person into our mess.
Salvation of soul is very precious to God. This is why Jesus publicly decries whatever whether knowingly or unknowingly that will jeopardize the salvation of anyone. Many souls have been won to God by inspirational sermons from the pulpit and street corners. Some people chose to become Christian because they believe they can find salvation in Christ Jesus. All these are the activities of God through human instrument. However, those of us already in the faith must we wary of what we do and say. Parents should pay attention to the upbringing of their children. And religious leaders must also be circumspect in their teachings and dealings lest they misled the innocent followers of the faith. Our ignorance or carelessness can cause a greater harm to the salvation of others. Jesus wants us to pay attention to this.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may we be good examples to those we meet. Amen.