Saint Gregory showed a great deal of promise at a young age. He had a stellar political career, becoming prefect of Rome before the age of thirty. After a short time, he resigned his office and dedicated his life to the priesthood. He joined a Benedictine monastery and became abbot, founding several other monasteries during his time there. Eventually he was called to become the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, and he dedicated his papal ministry to reforming the Church, the Liturgy, and its priests. He is the one for whom Gregorian Chant is named. He also spent a good deal of time and money ransoming the political prisoners of the Lombards, and helped to stabilize the social climate somewhat during a time of great strife in the medieval world.
Saint Paul in our first reading speaks about the qualifications of stewards, in particular that they be found trustworthy. Saint Gregory is a wonderful example of this, carefully stewarding the Church and the priesthood and leaving them better than he found them. The goal of all of our lives is to be good stewards of the many gifts that God has given us. The gifts we have received are never just for ourselves anyway; we are called to make those gifts grow by sharing them with others, trusting that sharing never leaves us in want, but in fact makes us grow in grace.
Jesus wishes to make all things new: in today’s Gospel he suggests that we get new wineskins for the new wine he is offering us. We, like Saint Gregory the Great, can be part of that new wine by carefully stewarding the good gifts God has given us. Even our psalm today, which Gregory would have sung joyfully, exhorts us to take what we have been given and make the most of it:
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.