Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church
Known as ‘the woes’ section, the gospel today has Jesus admonishing the religious leaders who say one thing and do another. He is exposing the inconsistencies of those who lord it over others and calls them hypocrites, accusing them of being blind, laying down the law and using their positions of power to exploit the people, leading them astray instead of leading them to God.
He uses strong language to describe them: the word hypocrite, comes from the Greek, meaning actor. Jesus is saying that the scribes and pharisees are like actors in a play, false interpreters of scripture and religious teachers who fail in their responsibility. Stern words indeed.
Does hypocrisy and blindness ring true today, for us? Do we come to Mass, say our prayers, make financial contributions, but lead lives far from God, as if he does not exist? Jesus mentions the temple, the altar, and heaven. It is a great privilege and commission to be a minister in the Church. Likewise, it is a gift and a responsibility to be a parent, or grandparent, leading the domestic church, that is, the home. We bring our children to the Church and to the altar, for the sacraments. But are we guiding them to heaven? Are we passing on and teaching the truth in love, where God is at the heart of everything we say and so? Are we loving others as Jesus loves us? Are we like actors in a play, or are we the real deal?
Today let’s examine our lives and on this memorial of St. Augustine, we can reflect on these words from this great saint and Doctor of the Church:
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”( St. Augustine, Confessions)