Monday’s Gospel – St Augustine of England, 27th May 2024

Monday’s gospel –

Today we celebrate the missionary sent by St Gregory the Great to evangelise the English, St Augustine.

He has a mixed reputation. He did not want to come to England, but he obeyed; when he arrived he spent time converting the first tribe he reached in Kent, but did not go much further; he established his base conveniently in Canterbury rather than his expected location in London; and it took for the next wave of missionaries to come across to make bigger in roads into the pagan hold on those parts of England that did not remain Christian after the departure of the Romans. It was for the likes of our own St Birinus to establish a cathedral in Wessex and achieve wider conversion.

But St Augustine obeyed, and he arrived and he converted. He established the bridge head for future generations to evangelise the people and bring the Catholic faith back to this island. We should give thanks for that.

And we see in today’s gospel, Jesus’ call for labourers in the vineyard. We know he is the vine and we are the branches, but he constantly needs labourers who would ensure that we are regularly pruned and that new branches are nurtured and grow into branches that will bear much fruit.

Those labourers are needed as much today as they were in St Augustine’s times. We have a real need for the true message of Christ to be heard by people. There is so much sin and division, despair and anger, hatred and denial that people are ripe for being tended by the labourers and given the great nourishment of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray that there will be more labourers in the vineyard. May there be a rise in vocations so that there can be a New Evangelisation of this country.

Gospel Luke 10:1-9 ©

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”