6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I’d like to begin by asking the adults here a question: Who has influenced the way you live your life?
I read the obituaries every day, first to see if my name shows up and secondly to look over the list of the survivors of the deceased to see if anyone from our parish is listed there. It is interesting to note how often people say he (she) taught me the value of hard work or integrity or a sense of humor, or kindness, etc.
Now a question for the younger people present: Whom do you want to be like? Your mother or father? LeBron? Taylor Swift? Weeknd? Tom Brady? Mahomes? A famous movie star? Or the winner of Jeopardy or other game show?
It is a simple fact of straightforward wisdom that we come to learn how we are to act by first following the example of others.
Because Paul had so conformed himself to the self-sacrificing example of Jesus, he could recommend himself to his early converts as a role model. Rather than being a statement of pride or conceit, it was one of fact and even humility since it was based on truth.
How many of us would be so willing to present our own lives as models and/or examples for others to imitate? How many of us wouldn’t even dare consider the possibility? Why not?
Too frequently those who have any authority over others seek to command obedience by words like “Do as I say.” while we also hear the unspoken “not as I do.”
Paul (and ultimately Jesus) challenges us to lead others to obedience by our deeds and lifestyles and with words like: “Do as I do”; “live as I live”; “believe as I believe”; “pray as I pray”; “love as I love”; “serve as I serve”.
That is much more difficult but far more effective.