In the (First) Reading from the Book of the Prophet Malachi, God actually speaks of cursing those Church leaders who do not keep God’s ways: “And now, O Priests, this commandment is for you…” he talks about leadership that causes people to falter; and of not being Godly. Today we have “book-end” readings (First and Gospel) that speak of Church leadership that turns from God’s ways. We can easily point fingers at our own Church leaders, and sometimes we should (look at Boston and Kansas City!)—but, we need to remember that we are the Church! (We should also be reminded about pointing fingers…when we point, there are three fingers pointing back at ourselves…)
St. Paul today gives the paradigm, the example, of what leadership should be. He talks about gentleness, affection, and hard work in order to not be a burden. If our Church leadership does not practice what they preach, then Jesus tells us that we must do as they say, but not as they do.
This past week we celebrated All Saints; and today we will remember the faithful departed (All Souls at 5:00pm). The example of practicing what is preached is given by those famous saints we celebrated on their feast; and on All Souls, we remember those not-so-famous saints—our deceased family members and loved ones who led us in faith and loved us in life.
Jesus reminds us that we need to untie the burdens we lay on others and look to ourselves to be the example of saying and doing; of practicing our faith as preaching. (I always prefer a sermon I can see rather than one I hear…) God of Mercy give us the strength to always be a Reflection of Christ in the world.