REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 17, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” Mk. 10:42-44
In life, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a hero or to save the day but over-ambition, selfishness and quest for power are vices we should guide against as Christians. We may not need to look far to see how our society and world is dominated by quest for power, position, and influence.
The two brothers James and John had made a request for a special place in Jesus’ kingdom of glory. This had given rise to resentment from the other disciples and Jesus used the opportunity to teach them about true leadership which is a call to serve rather than be served or lord it over others as presented in our gospel reference of today.
The gospel reference above reveals one serious temptation that those “who are recognized as rulers” may fall into. This is the temptation of an abuse of power and a lack of humble leadership. As Christians we may not be in position of great power over others, we may most likely struggle with the desire for power.
The struggle for position of power can happen in many ways. Take, for example, a friendship. Very often when there is the slightest disagreement on something, we want our own way. We want to be in charge. Or take the example of home life. How many enter family life with a desire to serve the others and to humbly submit to the others’ wills? This is hard to do. It’s much easier to want to be the boss and to dictate to others what is to happen in this or that situation.
Jesus makes it clear to His Apostles and by extension to us that when we exercise “authority” over others we are not to make it “felt” by others. In other words, Jesus was not calling us to be leaders by brute force, intimidation, manipulation or by any other severe exercise of authority.
Christian authority should be centered in love and humility. It should be a “leadership” that is lived in true humility. and service. This leadership wins over hearts, minds and wills of others and invites them to follow in charity and love. This should happen within the family, among friends, at church and within society.
Reflect, today, upon how you lead others. Do you expect to be the “boss” and expect others to follow you because of your authority? Or do you lead others by humility and love drawing them to Christ through your goodness? Commit yourself to Christian leadership as Jesus intended and you will be amazed at the effect it has within your family, among friends and within the larger community.
Lord, help me to be a humble leader. Help me to let Your heart of love and mercy shine forth and to lead by the goodness and kindness of Your merciful heart. Help me to set aside all pride and egotism and to become a servant of all. Jesus, I trust in You.