Feast of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
To take up the Cross means "I take responsibility."
Today’s Word encourges us to imitate Jesus in our daily responsibilities, no matter in which situation we find ourselves. Even when He was not actively looking for the needy, He would cross their paths, responding with prayer, curing and healing. St. Paul of Tarsus challenged a dysfunctional community with whom he was not able to work. He addressed their lack of response by remarking that, "I fed you with milk, not solid food for you were not ready for solid food." There is power in the cross, in the choice to carry the responsibility that often means suffering and sacrifice. It is "only God who gives the growth."
Today, the church remembers a saint who took up his cross in the most remarkable of ways and in the most difficult of times for the church .
In the 6th century, the Roman world surrounding the church had fallen into ruin. Rome had been sacked four times in a century. Civil administration was in a state of collapse. There was a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Gregory, belonged to a famly which had provided two previous popes to the church . He had avowed to become a civil servant in Rome. By thirty years of age he was in charge of the office of prefect of Rome.
When his father died, Gregory took the opportuntiy to put aside the concerns of the world. He turned his family’s home into a monastery, and created an additional six residences. But he did not remain in the cloister, as he was elected Pope and he assumed the leadership of Rome, as well! He had to develop a balance between his contemplative nature and his desire to make a difference in the world. This included his initiation of a commission to take the Word of God to the English, through the help of St. Augustine.
We cannot forget that we are God’s field, God’s building for today.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is the president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Ensley, Alabama.