Leaders of the Church….
The leaders of the Church deserve our respect and support:
Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect. -Hebrews 13:17-18, NAB
We often scrutinize every decision, every move, and every mistake that our leaders make. We are quick to point out their faults and use it as a reason not to follow them. Few know this better than the leaders of the Church.
Have you ever been in management in your career? Are you a parent? Have you led a committee or ministry at your parish? Then you know how difficult it can be to lead people who scrutinize your every decision.
We owe it to our leaders to follow them – especially our leaders of the Church who give up the “normal” life to serve God full-time. They will make mistakes from time to time, but that does not mean that they deserve our respect any less.
I have seen parishes thrive because the parishioners “like” the priests and would follow them anywhere. I have seen parishes struggle because they disagree with a few of their decisions. We often put the full weight of a parish’s strength on the priests (especially the pastor), but who really determines a parish’s strength? Them or us (including them)?
As a parish, we are a community. We cannot separate a parish’s successes (or failures) from ourselves. If we prosper, we prosper together. If we stumble, we stumble together. Pray for our priests, the local leaders of the Church. When we respect, obey, and defer to them, the light of the Church shines even brighter.