Authority seems to be a ‘dirty word’ among many of the youth of today who crave the freedom to ‘decide for themselves; make up their own minds on matters that are important to them and so on.’ It is true that we all must take responsibility for our own lives and the decisions that we make each day. Most people who speak out against authority are speaking against abuses of authority or misconceptions of what true authority is and how it should be exercised.

 

Anyone who belongs to an organization knows the authority structure within the organization. Without such a structure the organization could not possibly function. We need to both exercise authority and live in submission to it if we want our organizations to function well. The centurion in today’s Gospel understands this so well that he knows Jesus’ presence is not required for the healing of his child, only his authoritative word! It is faith like his that is rewarded all the time in the Scriptures and the history of the Church.

 

The Church functions well when its authority is exercised with love. When authority is used for a person’s personal gain then the Church not only loses credibility in the eyes of the world but it ceases to be all she should be – namely a haven of truth and love for all who believe in Christ.

 

Let us pray for all who exercise authority in the Church that they/we will do so always with the mindset of love and never with an eye to personal gain or promotion. If we can do this, the Church will become the wonderful community it should always have been and be, as it seeks to further the Gospel in the world of today. Let us pray for ourselves that we will respect those who have authority in our lives and exercise what authority we have with the love we have learnt and experienced from Jesus.

 

Therese of Lisieux’s life is a constant reminder to us all that love is the most important calling anyone can live. Let us make our lives living witnesses of the power of love to the world.

 

What is my attitude to authority figures in my life? Do I respect them? Or do I always fight against them?

 

Jesus, help me to realize that the greatest freedom I can have and exercise is that of following your will for my life.