Saturday, 3 September 2022 : 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 listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all constantly being reminded as we have been this whole week, to entrust ourselves to God’s wisdom and not to human wisdom and ways, to put our faith in God and His providence and not to depend on human ingenuity, power and strength. The Lord has shown us the path forward in life, and we should believe in Him and commit ourselves to His cause, allowing Him to lead and guide us down the right path, and not to allow ourselves to be distracted by worldly temptations and persuasions, all those that are able to cause us to be drawn away from the path towards God and His truth.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth regarding the importance of remaining vigilant against the temptations of pride and desire, of hubris, ego and ambition that can easily mislead them away from the path towards the Lord. The Apostle spoke against those who were divided against each other, being prejudiced against their fellow brothers and sisters simply because they had differences in opinions and thoughts. At that time, the community of the faithful in Corinth were divided among several groups due to the different preferences they had between following the different missionaries and leaders like St. Paul himself, as well as Apollos, the famous Jewish Christian preacher, and others.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard from the Lord Himself speaking to the Pharisees and others regarding the matter of the Law of the Sabbath which the Pharisees found issue with Him and His disciples when the latter were picking the grains of the field to be eaten as they were very hungry. The Pharisees adopted a very strict and rigid view of the Law and they imposed this view and version of the Law on the people, looking down on those who did not obey the Lord the way that they had done it. They criticised others whom they deemed to be unworthy while praising and looking highly on themselves, considering them as the only ones worthy of God.

It was there that the Lord made the same reminder to all of us, that we must not fall into this temptation of pride and desire, the temptation of our ego and greed which can become the source of our downfall into sin. For through their preoccupation and obsession with their rigorous observation of the Law, that had led to them idolising themselves and being self-centred instead of focusing their attention on God. The Lord and His truth no longer became the focal point of their actions and lives, and as such, they became further and further away from God’s path, and dragged many others into the wrong paths in life.

That is why each and every one of us have been constantly reminded throughout this week to guard ourselves against all sorts of temptations found in our world. We should not easily succumb to the pressures and the temptations found all around us, all of which can drag us deep into the trap of sin and evil. We must constantly be vigilant and ready to resist the pleasures and e allures of wickedness, and strive to do our best to be ever faithful to God at all times and in all things. We are all reminded today that each and every one of us have been called to a new, holy existence through God and His Son. And we can do so by looking upon the examples set by the Lord Himself, His Apostles and our holy predecessors, the saints and martyrs.

Today the Church also celebrates the Feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great, one of the great Popes, a great servant of God and reformer, who dedicated himself to the greater glory of God. Pope St. Gregory the Great reformed the Church in many different ways, reformed the Roman clergy and also influenced the greater Church community, purifying them from the excesses and corruptions of the world, enforcing a new and more rigorous practice and discipline in the Christian community. Pope St. Gregory the Great also spent his time and effort in expanding the reach of the Church and the Christian faith, sending out many missionaries to spread the Good News of God to more and more people all around the world.

Pope St. Gregory the Great spent a lot of time reforming the way the Church worshipped as well, laying the foundations of what would later be known as the Gregorian Chant, and also regulated the liturgy into a more synchronous form, and also brought the Church liturgy both in the West and the East to be more coordinated and laid the foundations of what today would become the Holy Mass as well as the Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Church. He wrote extensively in various letters and also other works, in opposing the various heresies of the day and in helping to guide the members of the faithful to turn back towards the Lord with faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to and remember the words of the Scripture and as we remember the great deeds and works, the faith and dedication with which Pope St. Gregory the Great had committed himself, each and every one of us are reminded to live our lives to the fullest, in the path that God has shown us, obeying Him and focusing our attention on Him and not to ourselves, distancing ourselves from the temptations of worldly glory and greatness, and turning away from the allures of worldly excesses and ambitions, of pride and immorality, of hubris and human greed. All of us should guard ourselves against all those temptations and do our best to inspire one another to remain true in faith in God in the way that Pope St. Gregory the Great himself had inspired us.

Let us all therefore seek the Lord with all our heart, committing ourselves at all times to glorify Him by our lives. Let us all renew our commitment to serve Him with zeal and dedication, that we will always put God as the priority and focus of our lives. May the Lord be with us always and may He empower each one of us to live ever more faithfully in His presence, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

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