God’s Word, is not always easy, nor pleasant to hear. This week we have difficult challenge placed before us as we listen to the Prophet Malachi and listen to the Lord’s call from prestige and power, to love and compassion. Upon first glance one might see in the challenge of God’s word a condemnation of religion. But rather Christ is calling us to love and justice and lifting up our brothers and sisters in their suffering.
Over the centuries religious leadership has been tainted by privilege, power and abuse. Often times using positions and influence to place themselves above others instead of as servants to one another. Having been a priest 25 years and serving in parishes and missions across the United States and South America I see the plight of the poor, the suffering, those in need I am convinced that the Church must be the Church of the Poor. We must be a parish that actively is open to be a new people, a changed people, that at whatever means possible we seek to bring and welcome those who are on the peripheries. The women and men in neighborhood must see in St. Joseph a place where they are welcome and valued, a place where we extend our hand in welcome and all the best in us shared with love.
Jesus is dealing with men who have placed burdens on the people instead of lifting them. Not only in burdening them but putting themselves in positions of privilege from titles to garb. Not that these don’t have a place, but rather they should never be a means of separating oneself from God’s people nor placing oneself above rather then at the service of others. Let’s extend our hand to help our neighbor not burden them, to lift them from despair to hope, from hopelessness to power, from struggle to stability.