Reflection of the Word of God, November 5th 2023
“So do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.”
The prophet Malachi makes a very strong criticism against the religious leaders of his people, Israel, who did not fulfill their role as shepherds. Forgetting the essentials of their religious function, they sought power and their own well-being, rather than their obligation to instruct and accompany their people in the commands of the Lord.
Today's Gospel applies these ideas to the scholars and Pharisees of Jesus' time. Jesus tells them that “they tie heavy and unbearable burdens and load them on others, but they are not willing to lift a finger to carry them.” And he reminds his disciples that they should not allow themselves to be called “teacher” or “father” or “boss” because one is the father of all and one is the teacher and one is the boss. Authority in the Church is a service. And he who does not serve, automatically loses his authority, and is not worthy of being called bishop, father, priest, pastor, minister, spiritual guide.
What is the title you have? Teacher, father, mother, boss, brother, husband, friend, does your way of being and behaving with others correspond to the dignity of that name you bear?