Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
and boast of many nations.
For your dominion was given you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High;
he will search out your works and inquire into your plans.
Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly,
or keep the law,
or walk according to the purpose of God,
he will come upon you terribly and swiftly,
because severe judgement falls on those in high places.
For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy,
but the mighty will be mightily tested.
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone,
or show deference to greatness;
because he himself made both small and great,
and he takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.
To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed,
so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.
For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness,
and those who have been taught them will find a defence.
Therefore set your desire on my words;
long for them, and you will be instructed.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s reading from the book of Wisdom speaks to kings, magistrates and those who have power. “For those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends… that you may learn wisdom and that you may not fall away.”
Pope Francis has spoken strongly about how leaders of the Church should act. He has advised a modest lifestyle, intentional outreach to the poor, and an attitude of service and inclusion. Leave aside the trappings of power; do not be caught up with inward looking concerns; reach out to all those who are marginalized. The Pope is not only speaking these words, he is living them as well. Just as his namesake, Francis of Assisi, responded to the Lord’s request to “repair my church,” Pope Francis is doing the same 800 years later.
Our own political leadership would benefit by hearing these words and living by them. In recent years, have our elected leaders really considered the best for all people? Even with many legitimate differences of opinion, have they conducted debate with honesty and respect for those who differ? We might all benefit if we consider a recent headline referring to Pope Francis: “Neither a Conservative Nor a Liberal, Simply a Radical Christian.”
We are all leaders and persons of authority in some way. It can be as a boss, a parent, an older brother or sister, a respected community member or a religious superior. Where and how do I play such a role in my life? Do I take the words from today’s first reading and those of Pope Francis to heart in my care for the people God invites me to lead in some manner? Am I a servant leader, reaching out to those in need?
We celebrate the feast of Stanislaus Kostka today. Stanislaus died as a novice, the very first stage of formation in the Society of Jesus. He was a Jesuit for only ten months. He never held a position of power or authority, but by the simple example of how he lived, he has inspired many novices to embrace religious life. Let us lead by the way we live. As Francis of Assisi is reported to have instructed his followers, “Go forth and preach the gospel; speak if you must.”
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
In the comfort of your love, I pour out to you, my Savior, the memories that haunt me, the fears that stifle me, the sickness that prevails upon me, and the frustration of all the pain that weaves about within me.
Lord, help me to see your peace in my turmoil,
your compassion in my sorrow,your forgiveness in my weakness, and your love in my need. Touch me, O Lord, with your healing and strength. To you, dear God, be all thanks and glory!
—Prayer to Christ the HealerPlease share the Good Word with your friends!