— Saint Monica —
Ordinary Time Week 21: Wednesday

“Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!” (Matthew 23:32)

In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Every good deed that is done for God is universally good for everything and everyone. Deeds that are not seen to benefit everything and everyone, however, are done on account of man, as the present matter itself demonstrates. For example, those who build reliquaries and adorn churches seem to be doing good. If they imitate the justice of God, if the poor benefit from their goods and if they do not acquire their goods through violence against others, it is clear that they are building for the glory of God. If they fail to observe God’s justice and if the poor never benefit from their goods and if they acquire their goods from others by means of violence or fraud, who is so foolish not to understand that they are building for human respect rather than for the glory of God? Those who build reliquaries in a just manner ensure that the poor do not suffer as a result of it. For the martyrs do not rejoice when they are honored by gifts for which the poor paid with their tears. What kind of justice is it to give gifts to the dead and to despoil the living or to drain blood from the poor and offer it to God? To do such things is not to offer sacrifice to God but to attempt to make God an accomplice in violence, since whoever knowingly accepts a gift which was acquired by sinful means participates in the sin.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 45»)

O God,
Who console the sorrowful
and who mercifully accepted
the motherly tears of Saint Monica
for the conversion of her son Augustine,
grant us, through the intercession of them both,
that we may bitterly regret our sins
and find the grace of your pardon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen