Why is it that news of wrongdoing by a priest is more hurtful/damaging/shocking than news of a “regular” person breaking the law? It is because we expect more from our priests. We know they are human and flawed, yet we expect them to be stronger in the fight against sin than the “average Joe” down the street. After all, they receive a special grace through the sacrament of Holy Orders. We expect them to, or rather, we need them to live up to their call. We need them to be Christ incarnate for us. The world is hungry and is dying of hunger, alas! very often in the arms of priests who are without love. (Eymard, CO 1375).
We, the laity, have also received a special call. We Christians cause scandal when we fail to live our priesthood, the one we received at baptism. The sad thing is that our expectations of ourselves as Christians are not as high as they need to be. People are not shocked when a Christian behaves worse than a pagan; they have come to expect it, and sometimes so have we. We are all sinners, but there is a difference between bearing patiently with one’s faults and giving up fighting them at all.
We must raise the bar for ourselves and remember that others are looking to us, hoping to see Christ … all the time. At the end of each Mass, we are sent out into the world to share the good news, to bring others to Christ by our example. How well do we do this? The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me (John 5:36). When others see our works, who will they say sent us?
Let us pray:
Compassionate Lord, you have chastened us by penance and schooled us in good works. Grant us now single-hearted perseverance in keeping your commandments and bring us untouched by sin to the joys of Easter. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (From Office of Readings)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)