Holy Family

Holy Family

Monday, September 3, 2012

Feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great

The deepest need each one of us has is to feel needed and loved. Because feeling needed and loved is our deepest need, our greatest fear is to feel not wanted. This is exactly what our Lord is put through in today’s Gospel reading from Luke. For the very first time publicly Jesus reveals Himself for Who He is. He reads to those gathered in the local synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth a scripture passage from the Book of Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

He finished by proclaiming to those listening that "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." The problem is that Jesus is recognized only as the son of Joseph the Carpenter by those present in the synagogue, and they do not accept Him as being anything beyond that. Although they embrace His teaching, they reject the idea of His being the fulfillment of the Word. Their acceptance turns into rejection of Jesus, even in His own hometown of Nazareth. This would not be the last of it. He would repeatedly be rejected again and again even by His closest friends and relatives. How often do we likewise reject Jesus within others, or even within ourselves? 

Each one of us wants and needs to be accepted. Being married we need to be accepted by our spouse. We want and need our spouse to accept us and choose us above everyone else, no matter what. We expect our spouse and others we love to accept and support us even in times, like Jesus in today’s reading, where we advance things which they might find disturbing. We don’t expect our friends to dismiss us and reject us, even though we may at times disappoint them. We don’t expect them to advance themselves at our expense. We don’t expect those we love to use us for their own advantage and enjoyment.  No, we expect them to love and support us for who we are, as in the words of the late Fred Rogers: "It's you I like."

As is often the case with us, our saint for today, Pope Gregory the Great, was not everything the people of the time thought the Pope should be. “He was not a man of profound learning, not a philosopher, not a conversationalist, hardly even a theologian in the constructive sense of the term.” Nevertheless, with great humility Saint Gregory and many of the saints went on to do great things despite whatever limitations they might have. Despite our limitations each one of us are called to do great things with our lives, to fulfill His love in our lives, to "proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Each of us, like Jesus, is called to give of ourselves, to fulfill the Scripture in our lives, and like Jesus we too can expect to be rejected. How often do we fail to support our spouse? Despite whatever limitations we might have, through love and acceptance we can encourage our spouse and others to fulfill great things. In marriage, we seek a lifelong companion who will allow us to feel needed and loved. What might we do today to help our spouse feel needed and loved? How often do we encourage our spouse to be who they are? Let us allow our spouse to know how much they mean to us. What can we do to be more supportive today? Let me know. I’d really like to hear from you. Make a great day! 

Today we recall the great life, gifts, and work of Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

1 comment:

  1. this is a struggle for me with my spouse. i do try to support him, but it is not returned. so i try to offer it up, but recently this has become a struggle, because this i feel lonely in my marriage. and i know, no one is perfect. i do try and press on, without thinking of myself. but this feeling of isolation is difficult to bear sometimes.