The Feast of St. Augustine
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Matthew’s Gospel boldly proclaims the words of Jesus: "Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." What a dramatic warning: could the Lord come to us today in fear or terror, or with a message of love, joy, and peace? Oh the challenge to be a faithful and prudent servant!
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Augustine, a great figure in the history of the Church. In his 76 years of life, he began with a very "pagan" lifestyle (oh, how his mother St. Monica prayed for her wayward son) and ended with dedicated service of the Faith as bishop of Hippo. His conversion and later baptism by St. Ambrose in 387 set him on a road to service and greatness in the Church, especially in his writings and sermons…his "Confessions".
Our 1st reading, Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, begins with thanks to God for the grace bestowed on the Corinthians: gifts of discourse and knowledge, lacking no spiritual gifts. The response of Psalm 145 then draws us into the praise of God forever. Both selections from Scripture tie into the life of St. Augustine: the truly human, gifted man of God, whose eloquent discourse and down-to-earth wisdom has impacted the lives of other disciples…you and I, sinners and saints-in-process.
Today, we 21st century disciples are encouraged to "stay awake" and receive the Good News of Jesus, plus the Good News of our older brother St. Augustine — even the Good News of God calling each of us the events of our day. We’re challenged: How can we more faithfully tune-in to Jesus working in our lives? How can we serve our brothers and sisters, the Church?
We may not have the talents of the evangelist Matthew, or the bishop and Doctor Augustine, or the persistence and love of the mother St. Monica……but we do have Jesus Himself, challenging us to be awake, to be grateful, and to say "yes" to His presence and action in our lives.
We will praise your name forever, Lord!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.