February 18, 2012 - Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Those who teach are under a heavier judgment than those who do not. It is difficult enough to live one's own life correctly, righteously. We are likely to go wrong in so many ways. What a great burden it is then to be responsible not only for one's own actions, but how another person interprets your teaching. I understand what I teach and the limits of what I mean and the exceptions, but I probably do not convey all of that in what I say.

So what are we to do then, since no one can believe unless they have been taught but no one can teach without making mistakes? Those of us who have taken on the great responsibility to teach the faith, whether by a commission of the Church or a special call from God, must dedicate our tongue to the Lord. Someone else might be sarcastic or flippant, someone else might discuss gossip or speak of useless things, someone else might express their own opinion on matters political or religious, but we teachers of the faith will not.

Would it not be better if priests and deacons identified more with the laity, dressed and acted more like everyone else? No. This comes from a good intention, for it is clearly true that priests and deacons are merely men like any other man, but it is mistaken because it does not account for the supernatural Gospel which these men carry.

If out of my mouth comes a preaching of the Gospel, the good news of salvation, then it is absolutely essential that there be no chance of confusion between my own opinions and the teaching of Jesus Christ, and how much more necessary that there be no confusion between my own sins of speech: insulting someone or imprudent topics, and the teaching of Jesus Christ.

By choosing to accept the commission of the Church to teach, we give up our right to express opinions lest the truth of the Gospel should be watered down with private opinions. We give up our right to complain about bad service in a store lest that should seem part of the Gospel. Every Christian teacher is a prophet and every prophet must go into the desert so that their message can be heard apart from the noise of the city. If a Christian teacher brings out into the desert some of the noise of the city in their own speech, where can they go and be heard?