Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Authentic Power is Service with Love

By Beth DeCristofaro

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law:  judgment and mercy and fidelity.  But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)

(O God we pray that) all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be 'protectors' of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. . . . Let us never forget that authentic power is service." (Lord remind us that) "Only those who serve with love are able to protect!"

Reading the headlines and reviewing history one is apt to forget that authority of governments are intended to forge bonds of order and work for the common good.  Hearing Jesus accuse the leaders of temple reminds us that even today leaders can lose track of their spiritual calling in the quest for power or even political gains.  In every message of Jesus, however, I should also be asking how am I a leader and am I “neglecting the weightier things” by being complicit or even overtly acting for the detriment of others.

How powerful are the stories of those who do not neglect the weightier things.  Missionaries in Africa who choose to work amid the sickest of the sick even at the risk of their own health.  Pastors who stay and protect their flock amid persecution in Cairo and Homs.  Religious who have been martyred in Brazil, Jamaica and other countries solely because they served the poor.  A layman whose dedication to bringing the truth to the light was exploited and murdered.  Catholic Workers who welcome the unwanted, the “other,” into their homes. 

What do my actions say as a leader in my Fourth Day?  Do I protect?  Am I of goodwill and recognize, encourage goodwill in others?  Do I serve with love?

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