Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MAY 27 SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

“Augustinus”
labeled in this early
Anglo-Saxon illuminated
manuscript, c. 737-746
MAY 27

SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY,
BISHOP

Biographical Information about St. Augustine of Canterbury [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
1 Thessalonians 2:2b-8

Brothers and sisters:
We drew courage through our God
to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.
Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives,
nor did it work through deception.
But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel,
that is how we speak,
not as trying to please men,
but rather God, who judges our hearts.
Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know,
or with a pretext for greed—God is witness—
nor did we seek praise from men,
either from you or from others,
although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ.
Rather, we were gentle among you,
as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.
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Commentary on
1 Thes 2:2b-8

St. Paul describes his worthiness as being established in God’s eyes rather than the view of his abilities as seen by others. He communicates his affection for the Thessalonians and his hope that the word he has spoken will abide with them.

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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.


Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.


Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.


Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.


Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
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Commentary on
Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

“Announce his salvation, day after day.” This song of praise to the Lord invites all humanity to participate in God’s salvation. “This psalm has numerous verbal and thematic contacts with
Isaiah 40-55, as does Psalm 98. Another version of the psalm is 1 Chronicles 16:23-33.” [3]
 
CCC: Ps 96:2 2143
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GOSPEL
Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds,
his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest."
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Commentary on
Mt 9:35-38

This selection emphasizes Jesus' early struggle to accomplish what he came to do by himself. We sense the humanness as he says: "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few." Immediately following this discourse the 12 are named and sent.

CCC: Mt 9:38 2611
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Reflection:

St. Augustine of Canterbury was sent to what is in modern day Britain by Pope St. Gregory the Great at the end of the sixth century (597 AD) leading a group of missionaries to the largely pagan land. In an age were Christianity has been at least attempted in every place of human habitation, it is difficult for us to understand the difficulties faced by such stalwarts of the faith. The group St. Augustine lead was prepared for martyrdom, so dangerous was their mission.

It is the nature of our call to holiness that the Good News of the Lord should be spread. We hear it from the Lord who, in St. Matthew’s Gospel prepares to call and send out the 12 Disciples as he laments “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few”. We hear it from St. Paul speaking to the Greeks whom he evangelized at his own peril:”We drew courage through our God to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.

It is a mark of our attempt to follow Christ’s Great Commandment that this task falls to us. If we do as Jesus commands- to love God and love one another, then we must love all peoples who are our neighbors. If we love them, we want them to have the great gift of salvation that the God offers and Jesus came to secure through his sacrifice. We are compelled by our love for them to offer a share in this adoption which we received.

It is a universal call to all Christians; this call to proclaim the good news. Very few have answered that as dramatically and faithfully as the Saint whose memorial we celebrate today. May his example of selfless devotion to Christ lead us to greater efforts on behalf of our Savior and Lord.

Pax

[1] The picture is “Augustinus” labeled in this early Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscript, c. 737-746
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB footnote on Psalm 96

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