August 28, 2017


August 28, 2017:  St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor 

  • 'Dove' pin:  The gospel came in power and the Spirit (1st reading)
    Don't be a hypocrite
    locking the Kingdom...
  • 'Music' tie:  "Let [the faithful] make music with tambourine and lyre" (psalm)
  • 'Key' pin, "unlocking the kingdom" T-shirt:  You hypocrites lock the Kingdom and don't let others enter (gospel)
  • Gold-colored accessories:  You blind guides say...  swearing by temple gold binds you (gospel)
  • 'Snoopy racing' tie pin:  Our hearts are restless till they rest in You (St. Augustine) 
  • White shirt:  Today's liturgical color (St. Augustine)

  • Restless Heart, from St. Augustine, the music and the restless heart, the musical
You represent a broad spectrum of political opinion, and there are more of you this year.  As long as the Church's contribution to questions of society can be put into discussion, you must remain committed to her moral and social teachings to build a more humane and just society.  The laws you promulgate and apply ought to build bridges between different perspectives, to promote greater care for the defenseless and the marginalized, especially those constrained to leave their countries, and to favor a correct human and natural ecology.
    Wordle: Readings 8-26-13
  • 1 Thes 1:1-5, 8b-10  We thank God for you, pray for you, and remember your enduring work of faith, love, and hope.  Our Gospel came to you in word and power in the Spirit.  Your faith has gone forth, so we don't need to say anything; people tell us how you turned from idols to God.
  • Ps 149:1b-6a, 9b  "The Lord takes delight in his people."  Sing for joy; praise in festive dance.  The Lord loves his people.
  • Mt 23:13-22  Jesus:  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, blind guides!  You lock the Kingdom.  You work to make a convert then make him a child of Gehenna.  You say, ‘Swearing by the temple means nothing, but swearing by the temple's gold is binding.’  You say, ‘Swearing by the altar means nothing, swearing by the gift on the altar is binding....’"
St. Augustine
  • Universalis:  St. Augustine of Hippo (present Algeria) led dissolute youth but was converted through his mother's prayers and St. Ambrose's teaching.  Held Manichaean heresy, then became neo-Platonist.  Had brilliant legal and academic career.  34-year bishop.  See also New Advent
  • Augustine and music:  See what he really said; it's not "He who sings prays twice" or "He who sings, prays; he who sings well, prays twice," and read about his inner conflict about music, the keyboard player named "Confessions of St. Augustine," and the "Restless Heart" country band.
  • Creighton:  In today's 'woes' Jesus warns the crowds, disciples, scribes, Pharisees, and us against hypocrisy.  Earlier John the Baptist accuses the Pharisees, calling them a “brood of vipers.”  Jesus has been criticizing those who hold the law over people but don't practice it themselves.  Tomorrow we will celebrate the Feast of the Passion of John the Baptist.  We're called to authenticity and integrity, not hypocrisy.  Thomas Merton and Pope Francis remind us to watch our steps on the slippery slope of inauthenticity. “Some people dedicated to God... try to draw others into activities as senseless and devouring as their own.  They promote useless work.  They love to organize meetings, banquets, and lectures.  They write and talk to fill a room with smoke, make noise, roar, clap, and stagger home happy they've spread the Kingdom”  (New Seeds of Contemplation, paraphrased).  We may need meetings and calls to build the Kingdom, but Merton cautions us against letting them become our focus and so losing sight of our goal, contact with the Lord.   Jesus cautions, “You lock the Kingdom, don't enter yourselves, and don't allow others in.”  We can only keep the door open if we daily walk through it.
Pre-Pope and now, Francis similarly warns us; e.g. in his 2014 Christmas greeting to the Curia, he called for integrity “diagnosing” potential ailments plaguing the curial “body”:  “There's also a ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s disease’; it consists in losing the memory of our personal ‘salvation history.’  It involves progressive decline in spiritual faculties that make you dependent on your perceptions and unable to do anything on your own.  We see it in those who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord, in those who build walls and routines around themselves and so become enslaved to idols they carved.”  I try to take similar temperature readings of myself as a member of the body of the Church.  How do I stay close to my personal encounters with God?  Do I hide behind walls of structure or routine? Where have I been hypocritical in my faith and values?  “To rise, descend.  If you plan a tower, lay the foundation of humility” (Augustine)....
    St. Augustine
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Triple crown":  Life in Christ is like a race or fight, with joy and suffering). To win, need faith, hope, and love:  faith to move mountains, hope to persevere, unfailing love to cover "a multitude of sins." To persevere, we must grow in faith, hope, and love. "Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through God's word."  "Affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for virtue, and virtue for hope."  "The fruit of the Spirit is love,..." often produced by discipline....
  • Passionist:  Augustine came to be baptized after years of running away from God’s call.   Look in the mirror and see the person created in God's image called called to emulate our ancestors in faith and today's prophets through hope in our Lord and works of faith and love.  True discipleship is shown in the bishop who calls his priests to speak out against prejudice, the neophyte who accepts the call to serve his parish, parents who bring their family to the soup kitchen to feed the hungry, those who speak out against violence, bigots, and bullies.  As Jesus' disciples let us share the Lord's delight in his people with all we meet and so help to make our Church and world better.
  •  "Don't close the door to God's kingdom":  The Lord offers each of us an open door to God's kingdom of God, but we can shut ourselves out.  God opened heaven to Jacob to give him a place of refuge and to offer his intimate friendship. God renewed his promises of blessing and protection.  God opened a door for Jacob that brought him and his people into a new relationship with God.  Jesus told his disciples he came to fulfill Jacob's dream: "You'll see heaven opened, and God's angels ascending and descending on the Son of man."  Jesus is the door and way to heaven and God's throne, but Jesus warned the religious leaders they were shutting the door on themselves and others; 'woe' expresses pity, grief, and sadness.  They failed to listen to God's word and misled people, blindly leading them to 'pharisaism' instead of God's way.  Jesus chastised them for their hypocrisy.  The burdensome practices they required obscured love of God and neighbor, yet they made exceptions for themselves.  The scribes and Pharisees preferred their idea of religion to God's and so failed to lead others to God and failed to understand his word.  Through their pride and prejudice they shut the door to God's kingdom.  The prophets had repeatedly warned God's people to seek the Lord and put aside their own ideas to understand God's mind.  We can shut the door through pride, disobedience, and ignorance.  May we submit our mind to God's word and allow it to form our words and actions.  The Lord knocks at the door of our heart every day; may we be receptive and ready to listen.
Special greetings to and prayers for all at 

St. Augustine Church and School (Culver City) and

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