Memory of the Church

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Memorial of St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (today in Algeria) and a doctor of the Church

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 24, 42-51

'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.

You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.

Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy servant whom the master placed over his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that.

In truth I tell you, he will put him in charge of everything he owns.

But if the servant is dishonest and says to himself, "My master is taking his time,"

and sets about beating his fellow-servants and eating and drinking with drunkards,

his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know.

The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel of Matthew which has accompanied us during this time will end next Saturday. The passages of the next three days centre on Jesus’ speech on the last days. Jesus warns us that we know neither the day nor the hour of the events of the end. What is asked of us is to stay awake. It is like a mission that the Lord entrusts to all believers. To explain it Jesus uses the parable of vigilance and says that each disciple receives a mission to accomplish. This mission is not given for serving or fulfilling ourselves, but rather for the growth of the community of believers. It is good to remember that the Lord does not save us individually but rather, as gathered in a family, a people. It is also in this sense that the parable should be understood for Jesus speaks of the task of supervising the servants in order to provide for their maintenance. Gospel vigilance is not simply an empty waiting, nor does it mean taking care just of ourselves. The vigilance Jesus speaks of is the attentive and fruitful fidelity to the vocation entrusted by the Lord to care for the whole house, to avoid behaving like a master, growing in laziness and shirking of responsibilities. No matter what job each believer may have in the house, he/she is responsible of all the others. And this is the true happiness of the disciple, his true fulfilment, as Jesus says, “Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives!” Unfortunately egocentrism very easily prevails, leading to our worry about ourselves and our possessions, and distracting us from the vocation that the Lord has given us. This Gospel teaching puts us on guard against religious individualism which has infiltrated the mind of so many believers and which lessens the core of the Gospel’s message, and thus renders the community less strong. An individualistic Christianity favours quarrels, misunderstanding, oppression and jealousies, condemning us to the sadness and dissatisfaction of which the Gospel speaks. Blessed are we if, in our heart, we welcome the vigilance of love so that we are all are welcomed, cared for and defended.