Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (23: 13-22) in which Jesus says, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You, who shut up the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in who want to’. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about St Augustine whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says Augustine was born in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth. Then through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308. So today, Fr Paul invites us to ask, ‘St Augustine…pray for us!’.