Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christian Leadership

Thirty First Ordinary Sunday Year A

Many people think that society is divided into two kinds of people – leaders and subjects. Leaders govern their subjects while subjects must obey their leaders. Many Catholics often feel that the Church is also divided into these two categories of persons – leaders and followers. Bishops, priests and their helpers, the lay leaders, all fall within the first category while the ordinary lay person falls into the second category. The Leaders run the Church while the followers just follow.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, there is only one category of persons – we are all disciples of Christ. Certainly, we all have different functions in the Body of Christ, the Church. But we all have one common identity – we are the “faithful of God”, the “People of God.” As disciples of Christ, each of us have a special vocation to serve our brothers and sisters in different ways. There are no sleeping and non-active members in the Church. All members are called to active service. All members are called to active leadership. Yes, we are all called to be leaders.

Today’s readings tell us how a Christian leader, a Christian disciple should carry out his responsibility. The readings are not just referring to the priests or to your leaders in the Parish Council or your BEC Coordinator. The readings refer to each and everyone of us. We are all disciples of Christ and called to serve as he did.

The first condition for Christian leadership or discipleship is that we must listen to God as the prophet Malachi reminds us in the first reading. Listening to God means that we are only concerned with doing his will and not ours. When we fail to listen to God in prayer, we will abuse our power, we will assert our will over others, we will attempt to glorify our own name instead of God. Listening to God means that we recognize that all authority and power comes from God alone. Whatever talents that we may have, comes from God. These talents have been entrusted to us for the good of the community.

The second condition for Christian leadership is that our leadership must be pastoral. In other words, we must have a love for the community whom we serve. In the second reading, St. Paul uses the image of the love of a mother to describe his love for the Church. Our actions must always be motivated by love.

The third condition for Christian leadership is that our ministry must always be one of service rather than power. Jesus condemned the Pharisees in today’s gospel for abusing their leadership by seeking to control the people and by trying to profit from their position as leaders and teachers in the community. Jesus reminds them that all authority comes only from God. As Christian leaders, we are called to be servants, to humble ourselves, to serve the needs of our brothers and sisters. We should not look for glory or expect others to give us places of honour.

In today’s mass, let us pray that we will be able to put into the practice the message of Gods’ word for us. Jesus is our model and our teacher. He showed us what a true leader should be. He was a man of prayer always wanting to do God’s will. He loved us to the extent of sacrificing his life on the cross. Although he was the Son of God, although he was God, he humbled himself to serve his own disciples. Let us heed his call and follow him to wherever he may lead us.

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