Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Timothy 4:12-16; Luke 7:36-50)
In one of the great sermons from antiquity St. Augustine exhorts priests and bishops to take good care of the community of faith. Thinking of his own responsibilities, he says: “In addition to the fact that I am a Christian and must give God an account of my life, I as a leader must give an account of my stewardship as well.” Augustine only echoes the first reading today telling a church leader to take extra care in how he lives.
St. Paul’s disciple Timothy is told to “attend to yourself and to your teaching.” That is, he must live righteously and also instruct others to do the same. The passage concludes: “…preserve in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”
Of course, ordained ministers with the huge burden of responsibility they carry must heed the advice. They do not need our adulation or material gifts but our attention and prayers. It also applies to the growing number of lay ministers who take on, at least temporarily, parallel duties of teaching and consoling. Certainly, it applies to parents as well who have the task of nurturing their children in the faith.