Homily for Nov. 10, Memorial of St. Leo the Great, Thursday of the XXXII week in O.T., year I
Our first reading today continues a series of readings from the book of Wisdom that we have been following intermittently over the past few days. It happens to fit well with the saint we are honoring today, who is St. Leo the Great, a man of great wisdom.
St. Leo was a pope in the mid V century, who really earned the title “The Great” through both his theological contributions and his skill as a leader. On the theological side, he had significant merits, including his many excellent and profound sermons and letters. He also headed up the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, which condemned a heresy about the relationship between the humanity and divinity of Christ. His own writings were key to the Council’s approach to the problem. For these and other contributions to theology, he was eventually declared a Doctor of the Church.
On the administrative side, his role was no less significant. He helped to solidify structure and discipline in the Church amidst the invasion of barbarian peoples and the gradual collapse of the Roman empire. He actually talked the infamous Attila the Hun out of attacking and looting the city of Rome. Not long after that feat of diplomacy, he managed to keep the Vandal invaders from completely destroying Rome, although they did their share of looting.
St. Leo was truly a man of great wisdom and holiness. His firm roots in the Kingdom of God gave him moral authority that even impressed the invading military leaders, who had conquered kingdoms and destroyed cities. Through his intercession, we too may receive the gift of wisdom and live with an awareness of the invisible presence of God’s kingdom among us. May we make that Kingdom more visible each day by being peacemakers who bring God’s love to all.