Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

 (Titus 2:1-8.11-14; Luke 17:7-10)

 John Allen reported for years on the Vatican for the National Catholic Reporter.  He knows what he is talking about.  He says that each cardinal feels a sense of relief after the election of a pope.  This feeling stems not from having accomplished the task at hand.  Rather the relief comes from knowing that he does not have to spend the rest of their lives under the pressure of the papal office.   It seems like the situation hasn’t changed much in the sixteen hundred years since St. Leo the Great was pope.

Leo lived in the turbulent time of barbarian invasions in Italy.  He had humbling encounters with two famous warriors, Atilla the Hun and Gaiseric, leader of the Vandals.  Leo also dealt with a doctrinal crisis.  He had to discipline an Egyptian abbot who denied the two natures of Christ with the emperor’s support.  St. Leo also preached wonderful sermons bringing some light to the mysteries of salvation.

In today’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples that they most be prepared to carry out his directives without expecting praise. We may not mind working for the Lord but often insist that our pastor or bishop duly thank us.  Jesus, however, finds such an expectation as avaricious.  He wants us to work for the kingdom believing that God will reward us as He sees fit.