I mentioned last weekend that while on vacation I decided to go to Mass on Sunday at the local parish. My friend and I took our spot near the back – because we’re Catholic. Two pews in front on me was a dad and his 2 kids, one teenage and one younger. He sat in between the 2 boys – for obvious reasons. During the entire Mass, the older boy could not stop fidgeting! I mean, I’m a pretty fidgety guy but this kid made me look calm… he was picking his nose and occasionally trying to distract the younger brother. Meanwhile, dad was throwing elbows at both kids the entire time … seemingly for no reason at all. First – is this what you people do out in the pews??? Now, I am not judging this man or his kids… kudos to dad for bringing them… the point is just in observing this behavior how difficult it was to pay attention to the Mass – it was distracting. And that was just me! I wonder how much the kids heard and retained. We have forgotten how to be quiet, to be still, to listen … we are distracted by so many things that it begs the question: could we even recognize the voice of God if we heard Him speak? And if not, who are you listening to?
I am going to propose one of the main reasons why so many Catholics are unable to hear the voice of God, are unable to be still and listen, why so many are distracted by the world – because so are the priests. The priests are distracted and have lost focus and as such are unable to lead.
Hear me out on this – Jesus takes His disciples, the first priests, up a high mountain. Did they stop halfway? Did they get lost? Nope. They climbed to the summit, they walked together, focused on their Lord. And upon reaching the top, He gave them a vision of His glory – a foreshadowing of the eternal vision of God – the goal of our faith.
This is the work of priests – to lead the faithful up the mountain and as such to lead the people to God, to the eternal vision of glory in Heaven. Priests are not to stop halfway, not to let any one person be lost … we are to keep our focus in order that you might keep yours – and when the path gets difficult, are we to say – oh its ok, stop here? NO. We are to pick you up and bring you to Jesus Christ … but we have stopped. We have lost focus and as such you have lost focus… for what reason – call it the scandals in the church… priests who do not know how to be priests… clericalism… a homosexual subcultural in the priesthood – yes this exists … Priests too concerned about themselves and not their flock … priests who are entertainers, who dish out a wishy-washy message that does not encourage one to holiness and virtue – they give a watered down faith because its easier – its halfway, it doesn’t scare anyone – at the cost, however, of losing the souls of their flock … let alone their own…
The point is this … if the ones who are the successors to the Apostles – those same men who by Jesus were lead up the mountain – if these men are distracted by the world … so will you be distracted, so will you be confused as to what is the Truth, Goodness, Beauty and Splendor of our God and of our faith. My pledge to you this day is to not be among the shepherds who only feed themselves. I am committed to walking you up the mountain – with you and for you… because here is the truth – when we support one another in faith, in the true faith, we ascend the mountain together, we look after the souls of each other … we don’t get lost, we don’t go halfway … we go all-in … who are you listening to? I for one, am committed to listening to the voice of the Father so that you too may hear His voice and walk with me up the mountain to that eternal vision.