Wednesday, 10 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God, we are all reminded of the great power of God and His most loving compassion and mercy, through the works which He has shown to us, by which He has manifested Himself before all of us, His people, that we all may know the existence of our most Almighty God and Saviour, the One Whom we ought to love and show our dedication and commitment to.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Wisdom the words of the Lord spoken and directed towards the kings and rulers of the world. The Lord spoke through the author of the Book of Wisdom, which traditionally was attributed to King Solomon, or one of the prophets or some others who compiled the sayings of the Lord, in which He chastised the attitudes of the kings and the rulers who were often corrupt and wicked, who abused their power and authority for their own benefits and causing sufferings to others.

The Lord reminded all of them that all of their power and authority ultimately came from Him, and that they would themselves be held accountable for all of their actions and choices. For all of their good and evil deeds they shall be judged and measured, and those who committed bad and wicked deeds shall be punished for their actions while those who are good and righteous, dutiful and just in being a ruler and governor over the people will be judged in a favourable way in the end.

At that time, many of those rulers and other powerful lords did things without much regard or concern for the poor and the needy in their domain, or anyone else, save for their own desires and wishes for power, for glory and more of the wealth and possessions that many of them already had plenty of. It was these excesses that the Lord condemned and criticised, and through what we have heard today from the Book of Wisdom, all of us are therefore also reminded not to do the same in our own lives. The greater the position we have in the community, the more responsibilities are expected of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard about the Lord Who healed the ten lepers who came to Him as outcasts from the community in the wilderness. Ar that time, according to the Law, those who contracted leprosy had to be excluded from the community and had to wander off in the wilderness and away from others until they were cleansed and healed from their leprosy. As long as they were still suffering from the leprosy, they would not be allowed to return back to the community.

The Lord then told them that they would be healed while telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. On the way, as mentioned, they were all healed, but only one of them, a Samaritan actually went back to the Lord Jesus and thanked Him, while the other nine all were too happy and joyful that they just went on their way and not even showing any gratitude to the Lord for having healed them. The fact that it was a Samaritan who had the faith made it even more ironic, as Samaritans then were considered by the Jews as being pagans and worthy of condemnation.

What the Lord wants us to know from that episode is that all of us have to remember that everything and every blessings have come to us from God, and we must not be prideful in thinking that everything happened for us because of our own success and power. It is not that the Lord expects us to show Him gratitude and thanksgiving. On the contrary, it is by right and justice that all of us must show Him proper reverence and gratitude for all that He had done for us, even for us wicked sinners.

The Lord Himself showed a good example for us to follow, in how He did not even show off His power and glory, as He healed those ten lepers. He could have performed magnificent miracles before them and then told them all to proclaim His works before all the people. No, that was not what He did. What He did was to simply tell them to show themselves to the priests to prove that they had been cured, while the miracles happened quietly and without fanfare. The Lord, the One true authority and font of all power in the Universe, humbly hid Himself and His glory.

That is how all of us as Christians ought to act, with humility and prudence, with true faith and love for God, and not greed and love for ourselves. And today, we all should follow the faithful examples set by one of our holy predecessors, namely that of Pope St. Leo the Great, whose feast we celebrate this very day. Pope St. Leo the Great can show us what it means for us to be faithful Christians and to obey God and His will in our lives, in remaining humble before Him and in staying true to our faith.

Pope St. Leo the Great was the first Pope to be called the Great, and he was the Pope and Leader of the entire Universal Church during crucial moments in the history of the world and Christendom. At that time, the Western Roman Empire and the city of Rome itself had been beset by barbarian invasions, and there were much devastation caused in those difficult years of conflicts and wars. At the same time, the Church had also faced a lot of problems with heretical and unorthodox teachings, most prominently the heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism, which both were at the extremes of the Christian theology, threatening to break the Church apart.

Pope St. Leo the Great was a powerful figure, a humble yet very respected leader throughout Christendom, who devoted his time and efforts to care for the needs of his flock, to prevent the Church from falling into heretical ways and to support the Church and the community of the faithful by his great leadership. He also wrote extensively to the bishops and other leaders of Christendom, adhering and affirming to the tradition of the faith of the Apostles, keeping the Church united in the midst of divisions and disagreements. He stopped the barbarian hordes of Attila the Hun, which until then was mostly unstoppable, and prevented Rome itself from being sacked and destroyed by those Huns.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Leo the Great through his actions, leadership and great personal qualities and humility showed us how each and every one of us can become faithful Christians in our own way of life. Are we all willing to follow his good examples and practice our faith courageously and devotedly the way that he had done? Let us all discern these carefully, and pray to the Lord, asking Him to guide us in our journey, that we may make the right decisions and choices, to walk in the path that God has set before us.

May the Lord continue to guide us and remain with us, and may He empower us all to live faithfully as true and genuine Christians, in all things and not just in formality and name only. May all of us who are entrusted with power and authority also use them with prudence and with genuine care and concern for those who are placed under their care and for others. May God bless us and all of our efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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