Friday, 3 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the Word of God from the Scriptures, we are all called to remember that we are part of God’s One Church, the One Body of Christ, which is made from the unity of all those who are faithful to God and believe in Him, and with whom God Himself has established a New Covenant through Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, His Son. He has united us to Himself through Christ, Who became the Mediator of the New Covenant and the Head of the living Church.

In our first reading today, that was what St. Paul highlighted in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Colossae on Christ being the Head of the Church and the One through Whom the Lord had endeavoured to save His people, by His suffering and death on the Cross, His Passion and then His Resurrection, risen from the dead, so that all of us who share in His humanity, and who believe in Him wholeheartedly shall receive from Him the assurance of eternal life and true joy and glory.

However, in order for us to be His true disciples, and to be able to wholeheartedly believe in Him, all of us need to heed what He Himself had mentioned to His disciples as we heard in the Gospel passage today, when He taught them using the parable of the wine and the wineskins, and the cloth and the patches. Through that parable, the Lord wanted to make it clear that following Him would require a fundamental change of heart and attitude, and we have to embrace His truth and teachings with true sincerity and devotion.

Just as the people at that time knew that old wineskin cannot be used to store new wine, and neither can new wineskin be used to store old wine, as they are incompatible, and just as old torn cloth cannot be repaired by new patch of fabric and vice versa, therefore, the Lord’s path and His truth is something that is not compatible with our sinful and wicked ways, the path that the world has shown us. As long as we continue to act in ways that are aligned with the excesses and wickedness of our old, sinful ways, then we cannot be truly worthy of the Lord.

And how is this then related to what we have heard in our first reading today? As the Lord is the Head of the Church and we, as Christians, we are all members of the same Body of Christ, this very Church, then it is imperative that we have to align and harmonise ourselves with the Lord. Otherwise, if we profess to believe in the Lord and yet act in a totally contradictory manner, then are we not causing a scandal for the Church, and not only that, but we are even besmirching the good Name of the Lord? That is why each and every one of us must do our best, as we are reminded today, to be faithful in all things.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all willing to embrace the Lord and His path wholeheartedly? Are we willing to commit ourselves to Him and be united with Him not just in mere words or formality, but truly sincerely from the deepest parts of our hearts. Are we willing and able to commit our effort, our time and attention to Him and do whatever we can, even in the smallest of things, to be good and faithful disciples, embracing God’s truth and love in all things, that we may be ever exemplary in our Christian living.

Today, all of us can get the inspiration from a great servant of God whose feast we are celebrating today. Pope St. Gregory the Great was a very well-known Pope, a great Leader of the Universal Church, and a great Reformer of the Church and the faith. The Lord has shown us in this faithful servant of His, what it truly means for us to follow the Lord with all of our hearts, and through his life, Pope St. Gregory the Great also showed us what it means for us to walk faithfully in God’s presence, to be obedient to Him and to be exemplary in our own way of living.

Pope St. Gregory the Great was remembered for his many and immense efforts in advancing the cause of the Church, in reaching out to the pagans and the many peoples who have not yet heard of God, in his many works, writings and letters to various members of the Church and the faithful. He sent many missionaries to places like England and Germany, which helped to establish a firm foundation of the Church and the faith in those places. He was also remembered for his leadership and guidance of the local Roman Church just as he was well-respected for his leadership of the Universal Church.

Pope St. Gregory the Great was also remembered for his role in reforming the Church, its administration as well as its way of worshipping God, by regulating the liturgical practices of the Church, and he was often credited as the one who laid the foundation of the Church music especially in the Western Christendom, of what would be known later on and today as the Gregorian Chant. He helped to reform many other aspects of the Church and helped many parts of the Church to develop and grow spiritually, and through his many efforts and contributions, the Lord’s Church grew greatly and prospered.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Gregory the Great has shown us all what it means to be a faithful and dedicated Christian, to be committed to the path of the Lord and to adapt a way of life that is compatible to the Lord. Are we willing and able to follow him and his examples? Let us all ourselves this question as we discern how we are going to live our lives from now on. And may the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us, that we may always strive to do our very best, in whatever we do, to be God’s holy and worthy people. Amen.