There are two refrains in parish ministry that you all can relate to. The first is, “Nice sermon, Father.” That one comes with a good handshake and is either from someone who doesn’t know what to say to a priest or is from someone who wants something from me.
The second is, “What are you thinking, Father?” Recently I was pulled into a pew after Sunday services and thoroughly dressed down by a parishioner who didn’t like how I taught the youth Confirmation class.
Unfortunately, both harsh criticism and ingratiating praise come your way and may way because they work on us so well. Because our egos are manipulated by the tiniest of words, we must set aside time to clear our minds and listen only to God for a moment.
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, sweep out our minds of the loose dirt of praise and criticism, not that we be true to ourselves but keep our selves true to your wisdom, your word and your Love. Amen.