Today’s Gospel proclamation clearly defines the personal traits the Lord wants to see in those who hold leadership positions in the Church and who are called to serve others.
In an Asian context we are given a lot of respect when we assume leadership roles, and we may enjoy the privileges meted out to us as we perform those roles but in the background these readings come as a warning to us.
The Lord is clear that curses follow us when we fail to, “take it to heart to honour God’s name”. Such is the calling on a leader to hold deep within his heart a regard for all that the Lord instructs and guides him to do. Often in our roles as leaders we get comfortable and slowly lose the sacredness of the task given to us.
Jesus shared many teachings about the qualities a leader must have, specially when he spoke about the Good shepherd who painstakingly looks after the sheep, risking his life to go in search of the lost sheep. In today’s world, people are more concerned about their comfort and conditions and are less willing to make sacrifices to reach out and mend a broken world.
The Psalmist says it so beautifully, “I have set my soul in tranquility and silence”. One key feature of a leader is to constantly hear the voice of God and do as God directs and leads. Often, we do our own thing and follow our own leadings and preferences. We are more concerned with tradition and roles than with hearing the voice and leading of God.
The Lord understands it so well when he says, “Listen to what they say but do not do as they do or live as they live”. Why? Because it is easy to advise and preach to people but it is difficult to live the life and live the calling given to us. In our secret spaces we fall apart and fail to depend on the Lord.
Today, access to sin is a click away; it is wireless, seamless and so easy. Given the power of temptation we need to spend more time in tranquility and silence, learning to depend on the strength God alone can give us.
A life of prayer is the only answer to strengthen our resolve and make us touch or reach the heights of holiness. The tentacles of sin are reaching out to ensnare people from all ages and walks of life and more so the leaders and religious. As the psalmist says, we wait for the Lord to strengthen us and lead us forward.
Prayer: Abba Father, without you we can do nothing. Neither can we be followers nor can we be leaders. Save us through Jesus. Amen.