An ‘LWC archbishop’? Not so…
November 3, 2017
Learn, love and give
November 3, 2017

31st Sunday OT (A)

Leaders must be servants

We live in such a time in this world that when we look around, we have to ask ourselves the question, ‘whom do I follow?’;‘whom do I believe?’;‘to whom do I give honour?’;‘whom do I emulate?’ Our leadership has influenced the behaviour and attitude of our people in almost every sector of the society: a lack of civility and brotherly love.

Some have given  themselves their own honour, call themselves leaders, give themselves titles and awards, and in some cases, create for themselves a following, of the less learned, less exposed, less astute and the less fortunate. They have become unfortunate role models for the weak and the fearful, leading them astray and thwarting the work of God.

In today’s meditation on Mathew 23: 1–12 Jesus told the multitude, and His disciples, that the Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. He is showing us, that they are sitting in the seat of one who is great in the eyes of God, the one who spoke to God face to face, and the one to whom He gave the commandments and statutes. There they are sitting in Moses’ seat, pretending to be the righteousness of God, making a show to everyone, as all hypocrites do.

How many times have we too witnessed the ‘wrong people’ in positions of power and authority, of favour, and who are not deserving of the position, title, or even the award? They have reached in that place by nepotism, by trickery and thievery, even piggy-backing on a righteous cause or person, in order to fulfil their own ambition and agenda.

Jesus tells us in verse 3, “You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practice what they preach.” We have seen this ad nauseum,‘leaders’ will stand in front of us and the cameras and say all the things that we want to hear, but months, years, go by, and absolutely nothing they promised was done.

Jesus said to be careful, or else you will be used to carry out heavy burdens which are grievous to be borne. They will have you do their ‘dirty work’, while keeping their hands clean. In verses 5 and 6, they will be doing works ostentatiously, making themselves look good in the eyes of men.

Jesus warns us not to esteem another more than ourselves, for we are all brethren, brothers and sisters, equal in the eyes of God. Only Christ is our Master, only Him do we follow and serve. Our only God is our Father, who art in Heaven. He is the one who made us and not we ourselves. Our earthly fathers pale into insignificance as compared to our Heavenly and only true Father, maker of Heaven and Earth.

That is why God calls us to humility, for ALL things come from Him and all things are in Him. He is the one who gives us ‘our daily bread’ – peace, joy, forgiveness, protection, mercy, grace, provision.

Verse 11 says that “The greatest among you must be your servant.” How awesome it would be if our leaders in all spheres of our society were to be our servants. If they will bend down and listen to our cares and concerns and help us, using their positions of leadership, power and authority, to right the wrongs, root out the evil where it lives, to make a stand for righteousness in the land, knowing that by God’s will, he or she was placed there to serve humanity. What a different world we would live in!

God understands the importance of this virtue, of humility. He sends many lessons for us to learn, as it is only through humility, that His will can be done on earth. Only then His kingdom comes on Earth….as it is in Heaven.

Jesus taught us that great lesson of humility in the Garden of Gethsemane, 2000 years ago, and due to His obedience, He was exalted and seated at the right hand of the Father, in glory. Verse 12 tells us –“Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.” If we wait on the Lord and humble ourselves, He will exalt us in His appointed time. Let us not do as the Scribes and Pharisees and seek our own glory.

The Gospel reflections for November are by Jemma Allong-Redman, founder of A Way of Living in Christ International, a spiritual support group for adults; the artistic director of the Southern Christian Drama Ministry, and a television co-host. She is a parishioner of St Peter’s RC Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, and St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.