Any leader in the Church from the Pope down to the leader of the smallest prayer group in the world ought to have meditated long and hard on the text we have for the First Reading today. Why do I say this? It is very simple. The apostles were finding that there time was being consumed by administrative functions that while essential, did not really have to be done by them. So they raised up deacons to help them accomplish such tasks. But this was not just about getting the jobs done, in fact, the primary reasoning behind the raising up of the deacons was so that the apostles could DEVOTE themselves to prayer and the preaching of the Gospel. What does it mean to devote one’s self to something? I am glad you asked that question! To devote one’s self to something means to give it your fullest and undivided attention. I think every leader in the Church, including myself should ask him or her self, “Am I fully devoted to a life of prayer and proclaiming the Gospel?” And if not, as I think the case will be, what are you going to do about changing the priorities in your life?

 

The Church needs leaders who are men and women of prayer and who have the proclamation of the Gospel in their heart and on the edge of their tongue at all times. Yes, there are administrative tasks that need to be accomplished but these can be done by others. The Church is either serious about evangelization and will set up its structures to promote this goal, or it is not! Let us pray for a new found zeal to evangelize in the Church so that we can stem the flow of people away from the Church and recapture the dynamism of the Early Church, with its enthusiasm for the Gospel and the willingness of so many to give all in its service.

 

Nothing will change in the Church if we just look at the problems and discern they are too big for us to overcome. We need to chip away at the encrusting barnacles that have attached themselves to the keel of the barque (ship/boat) of the Church. It is time to set a new course of evangelization for the Church and to put our energy, efforts and resources in this task for if people are genuinely undergoing conversion, all other problems will work themselves out.

 

Holy Spirit, help me to be a catalyst for change in my local Church. Let me be an example of prayer to others and let me be ready to proclaim the Gospel at every opportunity that comes my way.