Guam is a very small island that where the Archbishop goes, everyone recognizes and acknowledges him. It is true what Archbishop Byrnes say. In places like Detroit, he can easily go incognito, but not in a small island like Guam. If he is seen swimming at Ipao Beach, you can be sure that news of that will spread by word of mouth throughout the entire island. People here tend to talk a lot. Because he is recognized everywhere here, this is where he needs to be careful. People who receive a lot of attention and recognition can easily fall into the sin of pride. This is not about him. This is about God.All these critical missions aside, Byrnes, 59, lives a simple life.One can see him walking in his sandals in the parking lot of Pay-Less Supermarket at the Agana Shopping Center after grocery shopping. Or having lunch in the food court of the Micronesia Mall in Dededo with other clergy members. Or having his hair cut just like anyone else.“I hope that people will remember that I am approachable,” he said. “In places like Detroit, I could go incognito. I really can’t here.”
Pope Francis had to remind himself everyday that it is not about him. It is about God. This keeps himself in check otherwise the sin of pride can easily crawl into his heart. The role of the shepherds (bishops and priests) is to bring all people to Christ, not to themselves. Unfortunately, there are some priests who have brought people to themselves rather than to Christ. We see this whenever a priest is assigned to another parish. When he leaves, the parishioners of his previous parish follow him to the new parish he is assigned to.
If a parishioner only comes to Church because they like the priest or because they like the music, they are coming to Church for the wrong reason. Likewise, if a priest enjoys the attention he is receiving and is flattered that his former parishioners attend the church he is assigned to, then he has failed to do his duty as a pastor, which is to lead the faithful to Christ rather than to himself. The priest would do well to remind his former parishioners to follow Christ, return to their parish, and welcome the new priest assign to their parish.
The Apostle Paul had the same problem when some people look up to him rather than to Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:11-13 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[fn]”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
St. Paul did not like that some people were saying that they follow him when they should be following Christ.
Missionaries also remind themselves that this mission is not about them. This is about God. We are only His instruments. Before Archbishop Byrnes became the Coadjutor Bishop in Guam, we have gone on the two by two mission, announcing the Good News on foot from door to door here in Guam. During the two by two, we tell people that we are from the parish of so and so. Our goal is to bring them to God and His Church. This is not about us. This is about God. We remind ourselves that we are only His instruments doing His will on earth. We are His hands and feet, doing works of charity, and announcing the Gospel to everyone so that all may come to know Christ.