The Memorial of St Leo the Great
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Philm. 1:7-20, Lk. 17:20-25. In today's first reading, Paul enjoins Philemon a beloved friend and fellow worker not to punish Onesimus for his uselessness and desertion, but to accept him as a “useful” brother. Onesimus escaped Philemon’s service and sought out Paul in prison. Although Onesimus was not a believer at the time, he was moved by Paul’s preaching and attitude when Paul and Philemon were working together. Paul told Philemon that it would please him to keep Onesimus with him in his imprisonment, but he would not want to force Philemon into agreeing to such, if Onesimus would be “useful” to Philemon as brother and fellow believer. With the grace of God we can come to regard each others as our own kith and kin. If at first they seem as unlike us as the runaway slave was unlike his master Philemon, we can come to love and respect them as members of the human family.
In today's Gospel, Jesus cautions against false proclaimers of the end times. He tells His disciples that no human knows for sure when the final days will be. Anyone who announces they know the moment of the final coming is trying to control others and take away their free will. The reign of God is already in our midst. Intimately, personally rooted within us, is the Kingdom of God, already begun in Jesus who dwells within us. In Him we taste the sweetness of eternal life. Here we get the strength to be strong and loyal, for God’s wisdom already lives in our hearts. St Leo the great whose memorial we celebrate got the strength to be strong and loyal as a true shepherd and father of souls as he constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452 and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455. Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.
May the Lord help us to live to the true meaning of our faith! Amen!! Good morning and have a great day!!!