They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. Mark 3:2
Everybody who’s in the public eye knows that there are always people watching. Whether you’re the Son of God, the Holy Father, a bishop, priest, or deacon, you know that you’re being observed. Most people are watching, hoping for something good. But there are always a few, like the Pharisees, who want to see you mess up. With the 24 hour news cycle and the Internet, the scrutiny is non-stop. It seems there is always someone with a microphone, or a camera, or both to record your missteps.
I’m particularly aware of this as I start my new assignment this week. Having been at Saint Bernadette for so many years, I know you pretty well and you know me. I have a pretty good idea of what I can say and do without causing too much consternation. I feel comfortable up here (on the altar) knowing that I’m among friends.
This weekend I’ll be meeting the members of my new parish. I have no idea how they’ll react. They may like me or they may not. I’m sure some (a lot?) of them are disappointed that they don’t have a pastor anymore. Will they see this new arrangement, having a deacon in charge, as a glass half full or half empty? Even if they welcome the chance to keep the church open and to potentially grow their community, there’s still the question of this historically Czech church welcoming an Irish deacon.
I’m taking comfort in the fact that the great missionaries in history have usually been ministering to people different from themselves. My own patron saint, Saint Patrick, wasn’t Irish. He was British. I know I’m no Saint, Patrick or otherwise. But I’m looking forward to working with the members of Saint Nepomuk Chapel. I definitely don’t expect them to do what the Pharisees did in today’s reading:
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death. Mark 3:6