Leaders See And Act
Twenty-Seventh Week of Year II Monday October 3, 2016
(Begin reading Galatians)
The Responsorial Psalm pledges grateful fidelity to our faithful God: “The Lord will remember his covenant forever” (Psalm 111).
In Galatians 1: 6-12 Paul calls us to faithful stewardship of the message entrusted to us: “If anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one you have already heard, he is to be condemned.”
Paul gives the reason, and says we need to keep ourselves aware of it: “I want you to realize this: the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by human beings. It is something I learned only through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The Gospel is not a philosophy that can be edited. We don’t own it. We are entrusted with it as stewards responsible for preserving it.
We are also responsible for putting the Good News to work. Jesus compared his words to seeds sown to bear fruit. He compared our stewardship to that of servants to whom a man going on a journey entrusted his property. To the one who did nothing but preserve what was entrusted to him the master said, “You ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.”1
Luke 10: 25-37 offers a good example of how to do that. The “good Samaritan” ministered to the man in need, as we are all committed to do by our baptismal consecration as priests.
Ironically, the two members of the priestly caste in the story, the priest and the Levite, did not! The one who did was what we would call a “layman.” This detail was intentional on Jesus’ part. In the Gospels the priests were generally opposed to him. This reminds us that priestly ordination calls people to holiness but neither gives nor guarantees it. That depends on each one’s personal response to the Gospel, to which a common obstacle, for clergy as well as laity, is the desire for power.
But we are also consecrated stewards of Christ’s kingship, charged to exercise leadership in changing whatever needs to be changed in the world. As such, we must go beyond ministry and try to eradicate the causes of the damage we see done to others. We do this by challenging cultural assumptions and changing social structures
What we can do depends a great deal on circumstances. In a democratic society such as ours, every citizen has a voice. We can speak out, we can campaign, we can vote. We can address the causes of crime and work for reforms.
We are also committed — by Baptism — to speak and work against abuses in the Church. When we or others are wounded by unenlightened or unfeeling policies or pastors, it is not enough to seek or give comfort. We need to take action. A passive laity is an unfaithful laity. To criticize without demanding change is a cop-out. “The Lord will remember his covenant forever” — and so must we.