Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22 – Memorial of St. Monica
It seems appropriate that, on the feast of St. Monica, our Gospel reading has three sections beginning with the injunction from Jesus, “Woe to you.”
We don’t use that phrasing a lot. To modern ears, it has a strange ring. It makes me think of something straight out of an 18th-century novel. Though it’s a phrase I think I could use with my children — “Woe to you, three-year-old who straddles the back of the couch with no underwear on, for you shall feel the hardness of my hand on your backside and hear the wail of my cry!” — it’s also a phrase I could hear *them* using on me — “Woe to you, mother who fails to enforce technology rules or adhere to them yourself, for you shall reap the lackadaisical response from all in your family!”
There’s something in the finality of “Woe to you,” something that makes me pause.
St. Monica surely felt some “Woe to you” moments in her time. She’s best known as the mother of the great saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine. But in her own life, she struggled with what we might call alcoholism, with an abusive husband, and with all the challenges Augustine gave her.
Today, as we read and experience the “Woe to you” moments of our lives, let’s turn to St. Monica. Let’s pray for the perseverance she had and for the faith she lived.
What “woe to you” moment do you need to offer to God today? How can He help you carry your burden?
Dear Jesus, You never shied from pointing out the truth and living it for all to follow. Inspire me with Your example. St. Monica, pray for me!
Copyright 2018 Sarah Reinhard
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