03Sep 3rd September. Wednesday, Week 22

Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church.

Gregory (540-604) a Roman of senatorial rank was first destined for political office. But at the age of 33 he sold his property to support the church and give to the poor. He founded a monastery on the Celian Hill in Rome and wrote an admiring biography of Saint Benedict, the father of western monasticism. Chosen by pope Benedict I to be one of the deacons of Rome, he was later elected pope in 590. Gregory is remembered for his theological writings and his pastoral zeal, his promotion of the liturgy and his sending of Augustine and a group of monks to bring Christianity to England.

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

(People motivated by envy are still infants, while caring for others makes us God’s co-workers.)

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labour. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Gospel: Luke 4:38-44

(Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, then presses onward to announce the reign of God.

After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.

At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

Looking after others – a normal response

Arriving at Simon Peter’s home, Jesus learns that the apostle’s mother-in-law is “in the grip of a severe fever.” We note of the sequence of events. The story, in being told over and over again, has been reduced to its bare bones, those details helpful for catechetical instruction: 1) the mother-in-law is found critically sick; 2) friends intercede with Jesus and pray for her; 3) Jesus stands over her and addresses the fever; 4) she gets up immediately and waits on them.

After the woman’s miraculous cure, one might expect everything to stop and total, ecstatic attention to centre on Jesus. That was not what actually happened. Life returned to the normal routine of caring for one another. “She got up immediately and waited on them.” The family setting is enhanced when we hear that the people around Jesus “interceded with him for her.” This endorses the practice of praying for one another and of asking the saints to intercede for us. The family reaches outward to all God’s friends.

But this does not happen easily, or quickly. Even Paul’s converts did not follow any shortcut to heaven but often seemed to lose their way. He calls them “infants,” not adults, not yet ready for solid food. Like children they were quarreling over petty matters. Well, it looked petty when contrasted with true devotion for Jesus. They were split apart into jealous communities and claimed different spiritual leaders. Religion was being “used” and their natural tendency to pride and independence ended up in ridiculous ecclesiastical bickering. Paul reminds them that every church leader was God’s co-worker and that the church is nobody’s private property, or rather, “you are God’s garden.”


3 Responses

  1. Connie shinohara

    I read your homily daily as a supplement to scripture readings and get so much from it. Thank you. I am not a priest but just a fellow catholic searching for more knowledge of our God and Faith.
    May I ask for your prayers for our island community of Catholics. I am from Guam and our local archdiocese is in turmoil. The archbishop and the neocatecumenacal communities against everyone else it seems like. I cannot begin to explain it as I myself am confused. All I know is that the church is severely divided today and many of us who are far from the drama are hurting. Some of us are called to lead in the reconciliation and others like myself are called to pray. Your comments today about Paul and how sometimes religion is “used” as a means hit home. There is a blog called “jungle watch” which tells the story. Unfortunately sometimes there is factual information while other times there is bickering and disrespect for others.if you read it you will certainly feel the division in our church today. Please pray for respect and reconciliations for us on Guam. God Bless You and your followers

  2. Mary Vallely

    Connie @1, be assured that those of us who have read your post will be praying for you and for the people of Guam. Conflict is normal and healthy and the absence of any conflict or disagreement is a sign surely that something is wrong! Unfortunately many of us are still learning how to disagree, debate and discuss issues with due respect and consideration for others. Please God the hurt you and others feel will soon be consigned to the past. We are all of us on a learning curve here in Ireland too.
    How wonderful it is to connect across the cyberwaves! Thank you for your refreshing honesty and for your courage in opening up about the situation there. Do not despair. There is a comfort in the knowledge that we all share your feelings of bewilderment at times but we also share your faith in the light overcoming the darkness. 🙂

  3. Connie shinohara

    Thank you so much for your response. As with all things, everything happens for a reason and the outcome is always for our betterment. One of the positives is connecting with you and the rest of the readers. Prayers are very powerful and know that with all of yours joined with our island, will bring peace very soon. God Bless!