Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Kind of King We Have

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Hebrews 4:14-16. Make sure you read the other readings for context.

If you do it right, I’m pretty sure it’s no fun being King. People need things from you, they rely on you, they ask for your help with things because they can't do it themselves.

When you are called upon to take up a leadership role, how do you respond?

Jesus himself said, “If it is possible let this cup pass from me," and there are anecdotes about each of the last two popes indicating that at the time that their election seemed certain, each of them begged God to choose someone else.

What are we to take from these example? When you’re the leader of a church, it’s not really a position of privilege. Yes, you get a lot of respect, but it’s not worth the enormous weight you carry in exchange. A position of leadership in the Church is primarily a position of great responsibility. Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) That sounds like a huge, scary responsibility to me.

I can barely handle being a parent to one kid. Can you imagine spiritual fatherhood over an entire parish, diocese, or over the whole church?

The disciples did not understand that the leader is the servant of all. They did not understand that Christ came as the servant of all.

They knew to expect the Messiah to be a king, and they associated that word with the way kings of the world act. This is not the way Jesus acted, and it is not the way that we are called to act when we are called into service for God’s people.

There are two important things that we can know based on the example of leadership in Christ.

First: We are to pattern our own leadership roles in the church after that of Christ. A leader is first, and foremost, a servant - the servant of all the others.

Second: Trust. Christ came, not only as our great high priest, but also to be the expiatory sacrifice for all of our sins. He knows our frame and our weaknesses, and if we go to him for assistance - acknowledging our emptiness and inability to help ourselves, we will find assistance.

Lord, our King,

Help us to enter into the leadership roles you place before us in our lives, and help us to enter into those roles of leadership in the same way that you did. Help us to empty ourselves of our pride and to serve others to the extent that we are capable in those roles.

Help us also to trust in your love and leadership for us. Help us to know that in our weakness, we can always reach to you for our help and protection, and most of all, help us to look to you first, rather than looking to ourselves.


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