Dear friends in Christ
In the Gospel of this Sunday Jesus tells his Apostles how they are to govern the Church. He shows them that the exercise of authority is an act of service. The word authority actually comes from the Latin word auctor, which is to say, the author, promoter or source of something. It suggests the function of one who watches over the interests or development of a social grouping. As a consequence, authority and obedience are not to be understood as contradictory concepts. In the Church they both have their origins in the same love for Christ. One commands for the love of Christ, while the other obeys for the love of Christ. The charism of authority and the virtue of obedience have both to be viewed with the eyes of faith. The great enemy of authority and community is self-love. This is something we all suffer from. It is our shared inheritance of Original Sin. We have to be humble. The proud person will seek any excuse to avoid obedience. The humble person seeks to accept and complete God’s Will in all things and in the way that it comes to them. As we reflect on these gifts and virtues in the liturgy of this Sunday, let us ask also for the grace to obey what is asked of us: by God, by the Church, by our legitimate superiors.
This weekend in place of the Homily at Mass there is a Pastoral Letter addressed to us from the Bishops of England and Wales on the forthcoming Jubilee Year – which begins on 8th December – the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. God bless you all in this coming week!
Msgr Kevin Hale