Saint Hugh of Grenoble
Today’s saint could be a patron for those of us who feel so overwhelmed by all the problems in the world that we don’t know where to begin.
Hugh, who served as a bishop in France for 52 years, had his work cut out for him from the start. Corruption seemed to loom in every direction: the buying and selling of Church offices, violations of clerical celibacy, lay control of Church property, religious indifference and/or ignorance. After serving as bishop for two years, he’d had his fill. He tried disappearing to a monastery, but the pope called him back to continue the work of reform.
Ironically, Hugh was reasonably effective in the role of reformer—surely because of his devotion to the Church but also because of his strong character. In conflicts between Church and state he was an unflinching defender of the Church. He fearlessly supported the papacy. He was eloquent as a preacher. He restored his own cathedral, made civic improvements in the town, and weathered a brief exile.
Hugh may be best known as patron and benefactor of Saint Bruno, founder of the Carthusian Order. He died in 1132. He was canonized only two years later.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
Today’s Gospel opens with dark imagery. Passover is being celebrated, literally the day (as mentioned in the first reading) when death itself passed through the land. If the image of death sweeping through Egypt isn’t bleak enough, we then hear that the devil lurks about filling Judas with depravity. Clearly, this is an ominous time. Jesus reaches out in the darkness and offers to make the apostles clean. Peter is confused by Christ’s offer to wash his feet and initially refuses. Jesus responds to Peter that unless he accepts this gesture of love, Peter has no share in Christ. In other words, Peter has to say yes to Christ’s love. Christ loves Peter to the point that he will not force this love upon him. Peter must freely accept it. We too need to say yes to Christ’s love. Our lives are susceptible to the presence of evil. Amid evil, we need to say yes to Christ even more so he can save us from iniquity. Do we respond to evil by trying to ignore it, or deal with it on our own, or utilize worldly solutions? If yes, then we will never rid ourselves of evil’s sting. It is only when we fully surrender to Christ that he can work in our life, rinsing away all that is profane and leaving us holy.