It is 19th September 2017. We celebrate the memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr. The readings are from 1 Timothy 3:1-13; and the Gospel from Luke 7:11-17. Character matters for God’s service and public life. Character means the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. It is nothing to do with social-economic-corporate skills. A person may be skilled yet lack of character. In the first reading, St. Paul urges the community to look for leaders with character not just with a bunch of skills. What are we in our communities look for people to animate? Most of the times, we look for a leader in a church, or an administrator of a country with the power of money, influence, and one who has the power of words. It is so sad that many characterless and immoral persons sneak into the realm of public services by using their groups they belong, the false friendship that they have and with the fake promises they make. Moral integrity and emotional intelligence is so crucial for productive and inclusive social life. A person with character so personal and deep fears God and follows a clear conscience. We all are answerable to God to what we are doing with our lives. Let us not cheat ourselves by being a people-pleaser. To preside over people, we need to be noble in character. We all need to walk the talk in every responsibility we hold in our lives. Our actions must translate the words into reality. The responsorial Psalm hails, “I will walk with blameless heart.” (Ps.100:2). The Gospel brings out the miracle of bring a man to life who was the only son of a widow. The is image of Jesus and his compassionate heart is displayed in this miracle. A leader needs moral integrity, emotional intelligence couple with compassion for the most vulnerable in the society. A leader who adds pain and suffering to the poor and the marginalized is immoral and selfish about his or her personal agenda with secretive plans benefiting a handful of people. May the Lord help us to promote leaders with moral integrity and care for the humanity at large. May you have a good day.

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