It is important that we have been listing the qualities required of anyone who desires to go into the priesthood. But it is also important to know that we are all co-responsible for one another. Maybe you have a priest you really dont like. It is easy to start finding faults with him. St. Paul, in the first reading of today invites us to be obedient to leaders of society, and that implicates all leaders as well. Including the priest. It is easy for us to think we know how he should do things, but let us trust him, knowing that he has some knowledge which may have informed certain decissions. Let us not loose respect for our leaders, no matter what we think of them. At the end of the day, the real shepherd, as we hear in the responsorial psalm, is the Lord.

Also, I would say, let us pray for them as well. The fact that the priest or leader is not doing well is more reason why we should pray for them. We have no right to complain about our leaders if we are not praying for them.

Then let us show some appreciation to them. It is always encouraging when someone appreciates the good you do. Usually, when we like people, we tend to over-like them that we make them into angels. And when we dislike them, we also over-dislike them that we make them into devils. Our leaders are neither angels nor devils. They are humans. When they do something wrong, and also always, correct them, but dont loose respect for them. When they do good, tell them how much you like what they do. In our Gospel, Jesus heals 10 leppers, but only one of them came back to give thanks. This is a sad reality. In my ministry, I have discovered that very few people actually appreciate what we do. Some, who claim to appreciate will use their praise and flattery to manipulate him. Some will use gifts to buy him. Some will genuinely appreciate him. He doesnt earn much, so a little donation does help. We rely on the generousity of people. But a simple thank you will do. Usually those who criticize the priest the most are the ones who have never done anything for him. Simply telling him how much you value his presence is enough to encourage him and make him want to do more.

Fr. William Ikre CSsR, in his homily on the same gospel noted that the man returned to thank Jesus and to praise God. He gave thanks to Jesus and praised God. Of course we know that Jesus is both God and man, but here we speak of Jesus in terms of his humanity. What we can draw from that is that nobody can do good without the grace of God. Therefore, while we show our appreciation to our leaders for the good we do, the praise should go to God, because only He can make that possible.

In the end, St. Paul tells us that we are only saved by grace. If you feel you are better than someone else, it is just by grace. Without God’s grace, nobody can do good. If our leaders are able to do any good, it is purely by grace and nothing else. It reminds me of the song ‘Thank you Jesus, thank you my Lord, whatever I am now, it is by your grace!’