⏰Monday of the Twenty-First Week of Ordinary Time 1 (28 August 2017 – Memorial of St. Augustine)

????1 Thess 1:1-5, 8b-10; Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9bc (R.v.4a); Matt 23:13-22

“May grace and peace be with you” (1 Thess 1:1), Amen.

At the beginning of this working week, both Jesus and St Paul encourage us to be true witnesses of the gospel wherever we go so that we can help others to stand firm in God.

The background of the First letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians was that the Church was a young Church made up of gentile converts who were facing persecution from the Jews and the pagans. Thessalonica at the time was characterised of many religious worships such that faithfulness to one religious was a hard task. Yet this young church was faithful to God (cf. 1 Thess 1:8-10).

Such faithfulness is borne out of conviction, an offshoot of authentic witnessing by the messengers of the good news. In this Letter, as in most of his letters, St Paul reminded all that he and his companions have tried to live lives of emulation for their sake (cf. 1 Thess 1:5b).

Do you realise that your life might be the only gospel someone might read in his entire life? What kind of message does your life preach? Does it promote devotion to the gospel or bring it to disrepute?

The conversion of St. Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today was hinged greatly upon the life and instructions of St. Ambrose who was the Bishop of Milan. We too can effect conversion in others by our manner of life.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees in the Gospel because instead of showing light to the people, they were in fact blocking the rays of sun that tries to shine towards them (cf. Matt 23:13-22).

Remember that scandal is one easy way to follow the footsteps of the Pharisees. May God help us this day and beyond to live the kind of lives that will win souls for Christ and not block them. Amen.

I wish you a glorious and victorious week ahead. Peace be with you.

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