Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

There is a new note to college advertising these days: seemingly every such ad must boast “we are forming leaders.” This puzzles me. There is an old saying that to be a good leader one must first be a good follower, yet I have seen no ads boasting that this program produces good followers! And the leadership style: confident, bold, visionary! Yes, that is a bit of Galilee. But to be real, Galilee must lead to Jerusalem.

As Christians, we ultimately have one leader, and one leader only: Jesus Christ. In forming his own “leadership team” – the apostles, who lead in His name – He was at great pains to tell them time and again that their leadership must be one of humiliated service. That is, they must pour themselves out in love which takes on all the weakness, the problems, the obtuseness of those called to follow Jesus in them.

Jesus gave vent to His frustrations with His chosen disciples – “How long must I bear with you?” – even as Moses himself prayed to God for death: “If this is the way you deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once….” True leadership has no ego-centered ambition. True leadership, which comes from God alone, leads to the Cross, and the true leader goes there before His flock, with His flock, for His flock. Let us pray with great compassion for the leaders God gives us in His Church, that they may have the strength to be weak before God, and that we may all vie with one another for taking the lowest place. Nothing more than what Jesus did. Hopefully little less.

August 5th, 2013