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Heather TrottaSeptember 19, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Find today’s readings here.

When I first read the passage from Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy, I was struck by the references to marriage and family life, but that’s likely because my husband and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary today. As I reflected further on the passage, I noted that while there isn’t much specific to marriage, there is a blueprint for Christian leadership, which could certainly be applied to marriage.

The passage starts, “Here is a trustworthy saying: whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task,” which establishes that leadership in the church is a huge responsibility and not just a position of authority. It names other noble qualities of leaders including decency, being able to teach, respectable, sincere and hospitable. Of course, it also references being gentle and faithful to one’s family.

We want all leaders to embody strong qualities—but what about ourselves?

These are qualities that we see exemplified in the leader of today’s church, Pope Francis. His emphasis on social justice, serving the poor, the need to confront the sex abuse crisis head on, as well as his desire to be inclusive and welcoming of people of different backgrounds highlight how he is a compassionate leader dedicated to service, moral integrity and inclusivity. It reminds me of a recent Holy Week when Pope Francis was washing the feet of incarcerated men, as well as his welcoming comments to LGBTQ Catholics.

We want all leaders to embody these qualities—but what about ourselves? Are the actions we take each day only in service of our own personal gain, or are they meant to engage and inspire others? How can we take the example set by Pope Francis and apply it to our own families, especially in our roles as parents and spouses?

Perhaps today and in the days ahead I can be more hospitable to the neighbor who is new to the neighborhood. I can provide food and a friendly smile to a homeless person I see in New York City, or I can support a friend who is struggling with financial hardships. I also realize that I can be a better listener and take full accountability of my mistakes and shortcomings. By doing so, not only am I leading a more Christian life. I am leading by my actions for my colleagues, friends and family, and setting a valuable example for my children—quite a nice way to celebrate and honor my anniversary.

More: Scripture

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