If you're a priest or a deacon (or preparing to become one), the first reading for Sunday should intimidate you.
Because it calls out shepherds for scattering the flock and driving them away. God will hold us accountable.
Even before I was ordained, this is one of my fears. That something I say would drive someone away.
I don't mean struggling with the difficult parts of the faith. I mean some offhand remark by me.
Something I didn't really even think about. Much less mean. But for that person, it that rings in their ears like a bell. And that throwaway comment becomes the thing that closes their heart to God.
Which is why (if at all possible), I try to pray before I speak. To get me out of the way. So that you can hear God.
I don't want to be that kind of shepherd.
More on this tomorrow.