One need not be ordained to participate in clericalism. You can find it in any liturgical minister who sees themselves as set apart for their own benefit. However, to be holy means to be set apart for a purpose, a mission to do the hard work of announcing the Good News. That’s why in baptism we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own, so that you may announce the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into God’s wonderful light” (1 Pt 2:9).
In liturgy, we can be tempted to think that we do not need anyone else in order to perform our liturgical duties. Therefore, the focus can be solely on us, while the assembly and other ministers are there to watch us perform our ministry. Especially for presiders, homilists, lectors, and music ministers, whose roles require them to execute their ministry with excellence, beauty, charisma, and skill, this line between performance for praise and performance for God’s praise is very thin. If we want to become transparent ministers who point the focus toward Christ and not ourselves, we must be diligent in the disciplines of humility that we find in today’s Gospel: practice what you preach; carry your own burdens and help others carry theirs; give your seat to others and make a place for them.