by Fr. John Ulrich, SM
Today's reflection is based on Matthew 23:1-12 (found here)
While teaching as a Marist I once had the experience of being asked by a Mom and Dad to speak to their son. The young man had been caught stealing from a local Drug Store. The store manager knew the young man’s Dad and rather than calling the police, he called the Dad. I was asked to spend some time with the boy helping him understand his wrongdoing and how fortunate he was not to have the police involved. The young man was pretty contrite and I suggested that he write to the store manager, express his regret and his gratitude for not involving the police. I spoke with the boy’s Dad and it was agreed that I would preview the letter before it was sent. Two days later the young man reported to me what had happened at home. He talked with his Dad about what he would say in his letter, got a nice piece of stationary but could not locate a pen. His Dad was agitated and asked what had happened to all the pens he brought home from work. A bit of a disagreement resulted because the boy asked his Dad if bringing the pens home from work was stealing. Fortunately I was not involved in the final episode and I’m confident that the Dad never found out that his son had filled me in on the last chapter of the story.
It's so easy to hold others to standards that we don’t live by ourselves. Learning to practice what we preach is a life long journey. It’s important to have people in our lives who we trust and who are not afraid to challenge us when there is some inconsistency between what we say and what we do.
Are my expectations of others realistic? Do I have someone in my life who challenges me to practice what I preach? How do I react when I am challenged to have greater consistency between word and deed?
Fr. John Ulrich, SM, is currently ministering at Marist College as campus minister.
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