Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. (1 Cor 3:4-8)
Those of us who constantly try to learn more about Catholicism generally have our “favorite” sources. We have our favorite authors, priests, websites, devotions and even Saints! Some speakers inspire us while others “bore us to tears”. What works for one person often doesn’t work for someone else. While there’s nothing wrong with favoring certain sources, we want to be sure that we’re following the message and not just the messenger.
As evidenced by the above Scripture passage, this problem is nothing new. St. Paul is reminding the Corinthians that, although he and Apollos are preaching the “Good News”, it is actually God who is doing the work. He was attempting to prevent the people from becoming followers of human messengers and encouraging them to focus on the message of Jesus Christ.
What’s the harm in having a favorite Catholic preacher, you might ask? Usually nothing, as long as we keep things in their proper perspective. If we start to focus more on the messenger than the message, however, there could be negative consequences. What happens if our favorite speaker starts to depart from Church teaching and veers too far to the right or too far to the left? How about if that person is involved in a public scandal? What do we do when our beloved parish priest gets transferred? If we’re not careful, becoming too attached to one person could do serious damage to our faith.
What’s the solution? Simply to remember that God uses many fallible instruments to accomplish his work. Try to avoid putting any minister, no matter how holy they seem, on a pedestal. Focusing too much much on the messenger can cause us to miss the Lord’s message. Some prefer Scott Hahn, others like Father Mitch Pacwa and some are inspired by listening to their parish priest. The important thing to remember is that they’re all presenting the “Good News” of Jesus Christ…
and that’s what REALLY matters!