Alphonsus Liguori

“When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.” (Matthew 14:13.)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verses from today’s Gospel proclamation:

“They announced the death of the Baptist to the Savior. When Jesus heard this, he withdrew to a lonely place apart, but not, as some people think, for fear of death. He withdrew to spare his enemies from compounding one murder with another or to defer his death to the day of Passover on which a lamb is ritually offered up and doorposts are sprinkled with the blood of the faithful. Or else he withdrew in order to give us an example of avoiding the foolhardiness of those who betrayed him, because not everyone perseveres amid torments with the same constancy they had when they offered themselves to be tortured. For this reason in another place he gave this admonition: “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.” It was also fitting that the Evangelist did not say “he fled to a lonely place” but “he withdrew,” so that he avoided his persecutors rather than feared them.” (Commentary on Matthew, 2.)

O God,
who constantly raise up
in your Church new examples
of virtue,
grant that we may follow
so closely in the footsteps
of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus
in his zeal for souls
as to attain the same rewards
that are his in heaven.
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