Liturgical Colour : Green or White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we celebrate today the great feast of one principal saint of Christendom, none other than St. Gregory the Great, also known as Pope St. Gregory the Great who lived and reigned as Pope in the turn of the seventh century after the birth of Christ. He lived during the time of troubles, of the Dark Ages Europe, after the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, with barbarians plundering the former lands of the Empire and settling in them as permanent settlers.
Even Rome and Italy at the time the birth of Pope St. Gregory the Great was under the authority and power of the Ostrogoths, one of the Gothic barbarian peoples who had settled in Italy after the fall of the Empire in the west. The Ostrogoths adopted the Arian heretic belief, and the predecessors of Pope St. Gregory the Great, as the Pope and the Bishop of Rome, worked hard to convert them to the true faith of the Apostles and reject their heretical beliefs.
Pope St. Gregory the Great lived through a time of great difficulties before he became Pope in 590 AD. The Ostrogothic kingdom went through a series of civil wars and internal conflicts, and together with the reconquest campaign by the Eastern Roman Empire, which saw Italy and Rome back at the hand of the Empire, had wrecked much of the local population, ravaged by warfare and deadly disease.
On the backdrop of these events, Pope St. Gregory the Great lived his early life and his adult years, and yet, he grew up to be a pious, zealous, and well educated man, who joined the religious life and became a monk. He was deeply devoted to Christ and immersed himself in his religious devotions as a monk, and prayed fervently and worked hard for the sake of God. Even after his election to the See of Peter, he remained the same, and continued his good works for the sake of God and God’s holy people.
Most importantly, Pope St. Gregory the Great reinvigorated the Church and its missionary efforts, in spreading the faith and the Holy Gospels to the pagan peoples and to the heretics who had walked away from the true path of God, the path of salvation. He sent many missionaries to the far ends of Christendom, to England through St. Augustine of Canterbury, and to other parts of Europe, converting many to the faith in God, and bringing many souls to salvation.
Not only that, Pope St. Gregory the Great was truly irreplaceable for his crucial role in the reform of the Church, particularly in its liturgy and rules of worship in the Mass. Both the Mass we have today, in all its forms, and the Divine Liturgy that our brethren of the Eastern Churches celebrate can trace their origins to the reforms and changes made by Pope St. Gregory the Great, the holy and great reformer Pope.
If you find the name Gregorian Chant familiar, yes, this wonderful music of worship is named after this great Pope, who reformed Church music in such a radical way, that it totally changed the landscape of divine song and songs of worship over the centuries even until today. To Pope St. Gregory the Great, the Lord our God in Jesus Christ is so great and glorious in heaven, and so profound is His might and power, that we ought to honour Him the best way we can with our abilities and senses, and hence, his reforms of the Mass and the Church music in the Gregorian chants.
Pope St. Gregory the Great gave much of his love and care for others, for the poor through charity, and for everyone through his dedicated and loving actions in Christ. He brought the Lord close to everyone through his own deeds and words, and indeed, through his copious writings. Many of Pope St. Gregory the Great’s writing remained and became source of inspiration for our faith, just as it had been during his time as Pope. He worked hard to defend the people against heresies and against the temptations of the devil, doing as much as he could to bring more and more souls towards salvation.
Yes, brethren, this great and saintly Pope truly is worthy of heaven, and he preached with the authority of Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour of all, who is so mighty and all-powerful, that even the evil spirits obeyed Him, as we heard in the Gospel today. Even the devil would kneel before the Lord crucified, the Almighty Creator of all, for He is the light of the world, and no darkness would be able to stand before Him.
We are the children of light, brothers and sisters in Christ, and as long as we do the will of God, and follow His ways, we will always reflect His brilliant light, and the devil will have no power over us, for he is doomed to destruction and eternal torture, while we who are saved in Christ are fated to be in the eternal light of God and enjoy the fruits of our faith, the fruits of our salvation. Fear not, brethren, for our Lord and God who loves us, desires not our death and destruction, as what He truly wishes for us, is to live, and not just any life, but an eternal life filled with love and true joy in Him.
That was why He sent us many help along the way, all His saints, including Pope St. Gregory the Great, whom we talked about just before. Through their hard work, we have known the Lord our loving God, and through their labours, we have received the teachings of the Lord and grow to understand the extent of His great love and dedication to all of us. However, the work did not just stop there, brethren, as even today, much work awaits us, and we too are called to be the saints and the apostles of our own time.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, inspired by the examples of Pope St. Gregory the Great, and by the love and sacrifice of our Lord, through which He showed us His infinite love, let us also be proactive, in all our dealings, all of our words and all of our actions, that we will always reflect the love of God with zeal, and therefore obey His will, that is to love, to love Him with all our hearts and all our strength, and do the same to our fellow brothers and sisters.
May the Lord our God who showed us His mercy and love, and who rebuked evil spirits from the hearts of men that we may be clean and pure and worthy of Him, bless us, strengthen us, and empower us, that we will be reunited with Him when He comes again in glory and bring us to eternal life with Him, forever and ever. Amen.