Spiritual Role Modeling

Readings for Wednesday August 25, 2010

First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 128
Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32

We instruct you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who walks in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us. For you know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you. Not that we do not have the right. Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. This greeting is in my own hand, Paul’s. This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. (2 Thes. 3:6-10, 16-18)

Anyone who works with kids or has kids knows the importance of role modeling. Because those little eyes are always watching, whether you know it or not. There is a great country song by Rodney Atkins called "I've been watching you." It is a great song about a parents responsibility to role model good behavior to their child. The video is below.

In today's first reading, we see Paul discuss with the church at Thessalonia how important it was that when he and his companions were there that they modeled good, correct behavior for the church in order that they might receive the right instruction. He left them with the model of his example, one that speaks volumes over words. St. Paul shows us the importance of role modeling correct behavior to all those around us. This behavior is not to just be modeled so that people can see how great we are, but it is to be modeled so that people can see how great God is and so that He can be glorified.

We also have another example of those who did not model good behavior to the people, and that is the scribes and pharisees which Jesus addresses in today's gospel. We know that the scribes and pharisees did most things for their own purposes. Their thoughts were not on God, but rather on themselves. They tried to appear righteous to those around them, but they were not fooling God. That is why Jesus was constantly rebuking them, they were not being the spiritual role models that God called them to be.

As Christians, we are called to love and serve God, and to spread the good news of the gospel. That starts with our own behavior, and our own responsibility to be good spiritual role models to all those around us, especially the youth in our lives. In our own lives, we have a choice, we can be good spiritual role models like St. Paul and lead others to Christ, or we can be like the scribes and pharisees and lead people away. The choice is ours.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the gift of our lives, help us to be good stewards of all the many gifts that you give to us. Lord, help us to lead all those that we come into contact with towards you, either through our words or our actions. Help us to be the role models that you created us to be and to never lead others astray. Lord, you are our God, we are your people, may our lives be a reflection of you at all times. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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