SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA
At the age of 16 he became a Jesuit novice in Rome. Aloysius, still a novice, worked hard helping patients infected by the plague. He himself caught the plague. He died at midnight on the 20th of June with the name of Jesus on his lips.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 23: 4, 3
The clean of hands and pure of heart shall climb the mountain of the Lord and stand in his holy place.
O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life, grant, through his merits and intercession, that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence. 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.
First reading: 2 Corinthians 9: 6-11
Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten. The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one, and, made richer in every way, you will be able to do all the generous things which, through us, are the cause of thanksgiving to God.
Psalm 111(112): 1-4, 9
R/ Happy the man who fears the Lord.
Happy the man who fears the Lord, who takes delight in all his commands. His sons will be powerful on earth; the children of the upright are blessed.
Riches and wealth are in his house; his justice stands firm for ever. He is a light in the darkness for the upright: he is generous, merciful and just.
Open-handed, he gives to the poor; his justice stands firm for ever. His head will be raised in glory.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Col3: 16a, 17
Alleluia, alleluia! Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you; through him give thanks to God the Father. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord, that by the example of Saint Aloysius, we may take our place at the heavenly banquet, clothed always in our wedding garment, so that, by participation in this mystery, we may possess the riches of your grace. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 77
God gave them bread from heaven; man ate the bread of Angels.
Prayer after Communion
Bring us, who have been fed with the food of Angels, O Lord, to serve you in purity of life, and, following the example of Saint Aloysius, whom we honour today, may we persevere in constant thanksgiving. Through Christ our Lord.
Almsgiving, prayer and fasting; these three fundamental attitudes enumerated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount translate a just life in the tradition of Israel. The advice that Jesus leaves us could be summarised in three words: gratuity, interiority, lightness. Gratuity in our reflexes of sharing, in the gifts we offer. Our left hand must not know what the right hand gives. Our right hand must sow widely. Interiority is the key word in community or personal prayer. Certainly, fidelity to prayer is concretised in very visible choices: we reserve time for God and for listening to his Word, we enter the most secluded room of the heart, far from the images and the noise of the media, and we lock the door, leaving all fantasies outside; everything must be done “in secret” where only the gaze of God reaches. Lightness as expected of all Christian asceticism. Asceticism, according to Jesus, is fresh and fragrant, because it prepares us for the encounter with God and anticipates joy. Let us live by these instructions and the Lord, through the Spirit, will do the rest in us.