Monday, May 25, 2020

(Optional) Memorial of St. Gregory VII, pope

(Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33)

Today the Church celebrates various saints.  Among them is Pope St. Gregory the Great, an eleventh century Church reformer.  Gregory is famous for excommunicating the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. The emperor refused to allow the Church to invest in office the bishops it chose.  In order to have the sentence lifted, Henry stood in the snow outside Gregory’s quarters as a kind of penance.  But once pardoned, Henry turned on Gregory and forced him into exile where he died.  No doubt Gregory felt some of the abandonment that Jesus speaks of in today’s gospel.

In the Gospel of John Jesus is prescient of all that is taking place.  He knows that he will be crucified and that his disciples will abandon him.  Yet he stands firm in his resolve to complete the mission of his Father.  He also knows that the Father will stand by him.  He further encourages his disciples to trust in him as he does in the Father.  Doing so, they will experience peace when are persecuted for proclaiming Jesus .

Jesus offers the same peace to us.  We may feel especially anxious because of the virus.  It really does threaten our safety and also our livelihood.  Praying for help, we will receive Jesus’ support.  He will enable us to make prudent decisions regarding when to act and when to wait.  He will also assure us that even if our decisions turn out mistaken, we will not perish.