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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time Download This Homily

August 28, 2019

Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time


1Thes 2:9-13

Psalm 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12ab

Mt 23:27-32


Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(Please roll down for the homily on St Augustine)


Gospel Reading


Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.' Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"


Reflection


Christian Leadership


Today’s two Scriptural readings will enable us to compare and contrast the practice of leadership among the Jewish as well as the Christian communities of that time. Jesus points his finger at the fetid practice of leadership by the scribes and the Pharisees while Paul is indicating how he implemented the servant leadership proposed by Jesus among the Thessalonians. Let us have a closer look at the discrepancy between those two types of leaderships. The former was superficial and phony. They were mere employees of the Jewish religion. They have no personal conviction or commitment towards what they preached and practiced. Their job was to ensure law and order in the community. It was not love but rules that galvanized their preaching and practices. In the latter case, everything Paul did was animated by his personal conviction and total commitment to Jesus. He was sharing what he received freely and joyfully without expecting any sort of remuneration. We do not see the attitude of an employee in Paul. He was not an enforcer of laws but an embodiment of love.


Persons, who have never undergone an inner transformation during their formation, when chosen to positions of leadership, exhibit the attitude of an employee, subservient to their superiors and strictly imposing rules and regulations. Their insecurity and fear make them control others by instilling fear in them. Unless leaders are transformed by love and got over their fear, they will always take recourse to rules and regulations to control and frighten their subordinates. Christian leaders are not employees and should not behave like employers either. Christian leadership is a call to serve, with joy, enthusiasm, total commitment and selflessness. If not the following words of Jesus against the Jewish leadership can prove relevant even today, “you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!” St Paul reminds Thessalonians, “You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery, working night and day in order not to burden any of you.” Ecclesiastical leaders should not behave like lords, fathers or even teachers! God is our father; Jesus is our teacher, while we are all brothers and sisters (Mt 23:8-9), nothing more nothing less. It is St Paul who reminds us, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you are” (Rom 12:3).

 

Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI



Feast of Saint Augustine


1Thes 4:1-8,

Mt 25:1-13



“Late have I loved You, O Lord; and behold,

You were within and I without, and there I sought You.

You were with me while I was not with You.

You did call, and cry, and burst my deafness.

You did shine, and glow, and dispel my blindness.

You did touch me, and I burned for Your peace.

For Yourself You have created us,

And restless our hearts until in You they find their rest.

Late have I loved You, You Beauty ever old and ever new.”


Thus begins the famous Confessions of St. Augustine, the illustrious son of St. Monica, whose memorial we celebrate today. He was born in Algeria, Northern Africa in 354. During the early years of his life he opted for a wayward lifestyle and false beliefs. Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvelous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally got converted to Christianity. He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop, a famous writer, founder of a religious order, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived. His masterpieces, City of God and Confessions are hailed as classics of world literature. At a time when the Roman Empire was on the verge of disintegration Augustine proposed the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City.


Augustine was from the beginning a brilliant student. In 383 he left for Rome to establish a school to teach rhetoric. In late 384 he was appointed as the rhetoric professor in the imperial court at Milan. At the age of 19 Augustine began an affair with a young woman who gave birth to his son Adeodatus. In the year 387, at the age of 31, Ambrose baptized Augustine in Milan, on Easter Vigil along with his son Adeodatus. In 388, as Augustine and his family prepared to embark for Africa his mother Monica died at Ostia, Italy. After her burial Augustine and Adeodatus returned to Africa, where his son also succumbed to an untimely death. Augustine sold his patrimony and gave the money to the poor. The only thing he kept was the family house, which he converted into a monastic foundation for himself and a group of friends. In 391 Augustine was ordained a priest. In 395 he was made Bishop of Hippo. After a prolific career as the defender of Christian doctrine he died on 28 August 430.


Through today’s first reading Paul reminds the Thessalonians, “This is the will of God, your holiness”. Then he explains what exactly holiness is. Holiness is leading a holistic and honorable life without exploiting or taking advantage of our brothers and sisters and not being enslaved by instincts and passions. The foolish virgins wasted their opportunity while the wise ones celebrate their life by making use of their brains. We are given our brains not for safe keeping but to make use of.


Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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