We want to admire our leaders. Whether it be the President of the United States, the Archbishop, our Congress people or police officers, we want them to be good and virtuous and upright. We look to them for integrity and honesty, and how often we are disappointed. Perhaps it’s because we expect them to be perfect. Human beings, they make mistakes and commit foibles. We can usually forgive them for these kinds of mistakes. It is when they do something egregious that we find ourselves lost, ashamed and crestfallen. It was the same in the time of Malachi, the prophet we hear from in the First Reading this weekend. The priests of the Jewish people were a disgrace. They had not only failed God but, worse yet, they failed the people. Isn’t that what bothers us the most? We elect people or we place them over us in positions of authority so that they can accomplish the good that we feel powerless to do. When they fail us, they impact a huge number of people because they are the leaders.
As we pray for our leaders let us also, however, look at ourselves. If we are parents, uncles, aunts, older brothers or sisters or caregivers for older parents, we all have responsibilities to fulfill. This is what St. Paul is telling the Thessalonians — that he worked for them tirelessly as an apostle and leader. Now he urges them to imitate his good example. As we suffer from the disappointment of so many leaders who do not do their job well, let us resolve to be a good example in our own areas of responsibility.