Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Now I have to admit to you that I struggle every time I hear or read today's Gospel. The images that Jesus uses to talk about the religious leadership of his time seem all too familiar and being a part of the leadership of our Church I wonder about myself and whether I am making the same mistakes as those Jesus is talk about in the Gospel.
I think about the scandals and struggles of the Church today and wonder if the very pitfalls that Jesus points out about the leadership of his day are not alive and well in the leadership of the Church today. Let's remember that the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day were good people for the most part. They were doing what they thought they were supposed to do. However they were caught up in a religious leadership culture that had developed over centuries. They thought they were doing what was right.
Many in religious leadership today are good people doing what they think is right, but they caught up in the leadership culture that has developed over centuries. But like in Jesus' time does that make it right and life giving?
For me whether you are part of the religious leadership of today or not the challenge of the Gospel is that of being a humble servant. Throughout my life and ministry as a priest I have always imaged myself as a servant and a shepherd. Those are the two images that make the most sense to me for who I am and how I am supposed to live. I work at trying to be a humble person but I am not always successful. What always brings me back to reality when I get too full of myself is that I am a servant nothing more.
Too often today we see people in leadership who feel entitled, who look for the places of honor, who seek out titles, who do place burdens on others without any thought of helping. They become people who are distant, at times unapproachable and certainly not shepherds or servants!
Perhaps our task today in to pray for leadership, especially within our Church that they - we might find the virtues of servant and shepherd once again. That they - we might take to hearts the words of Jesus and seek to be humble servants who learn to do good again!
Have a great day everyone and may the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!
- Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P., - St. Vincent Strambi Residence