For about a week, the First Readings at mass have come from one of the “Pastoral Epistles,” First Timothy. We heard what the requirements are for being a bishop or priest. Even though he is young, Timothy needs to grow in his faith and become an example to others. Sure, there are certain authority and status to being a “churchman,” but there are also grave responsibilities.
Today’s reading reminds me of something that happened to me. I was in the 3rd year of my priesthood and a pastor at a rural church. there was a woman I wanted to help but it was clear from Cannon Law that I couldn’t help her under normal circumstances. I took the case to my Spiritual Director, the late Fr. Atkinson, who asked me “what would Jesus do?” I told him. He replied, “then what’s your problem?” Then, he put the “kicker in.” “Don’t you know that when your parishioners see you they can’t see Russ but have to see Jesus?” That’s a heavy burden, but he’s correct!