September 03, 2018 (Monday of Week 22 Year II, St Gregory the Great)
The Spirit upon me
Dear friends in Christ, the poor enjoy a special place in the ministry of Jesus and the mission of the Church. Countless holy men and women have chosen the way of poverty to express their faith and by so doing identify with those who have been made poor by the situation of their world. Identifying with those on the margins of history and working to alleviate their suffering opens our eyes to the joy that the poor share, which is often hidden from those who have too much of the world’s resources. Today we celebrate the Memorial of St Gregory the Great, the first monk to be elected a Pope. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the surplus to the care of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality and morals. He designated himself, “servant of the servants of God.”
In our first reading today (1Corinthians 2:1-5) Unlike his approach in Athens, Paul says, “When I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words of wisdom.” Witnessing to Jesus is not about using the best of words and great oratory. It begins from simple living which acts as a magnet for those who are watching you and the conversation follows on what exactly informs your way of living. He says, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” He recognised how he had associated with the people in the weakness. You are not in short supply of the Spirit that moved Paul in his mission, how much faith do you have in God who supplies the strength and courage for mission?
Today we turn to the gospel of Luke (Luke 4:16-30) from where we will have our readings for the rest of the Liturgical season. It opens with the beginning of the prophetic mission of Jesus, in which he proclaims the whole purpose of his ministry, as a fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophesy. (cf. Is. 61:1,58:6 and 61:2) In it the prophet proclaims, “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, because he has anointed me to bring the good news to the poor…to proclaim release to captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty the oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Right from the beginning, the preference for the poor is clear. They will form the bulk of his followers and to them he will open the treasures of the kingdom. Jesus proclaimed, that the words of the prophet are being fulfilled as they listen. Many wondered at the gracious words that came from him. The leaders on the other hand, rejected him, for which he reminded them, that the prophets of old were rejected in like manner. To be true followers of Jesus, the poor must find a place with us. We must do what we can daily to help those who are in need. You may not be able to solve all the problems, do what you can.
Let us pray: Lord, we are witnesses to the sufferings in today’s world, give us the grace to do what we can to solve them. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!