Homily of October 21, 2018
The suffering servant leader
In the most crucial period in Jesus’ life and ministry, Jesus revealed that suffering through the cross was the inevitable means to attain Glory. Our Gospel today reveal how James and John were tactically vying and scheming for the best seats in his kingdom. Their intention was to flank Jesus on the right and on the left hand. The other apostles who did not express this feeling were also indignant. It is not impossible that they too were eying these positions but never had the courage the other two had. It is clear that the disciples had the common misconception that leadership role over others comes with glory, power, and positions of honour.
In most cases we want to be recognized, appreciated and put on our right positions especially when we are leaders. Jesus’ reply to the sons of Zebedee epitomized the importance of servant leadership. Being leaders or ministers meant being the servants of many. True leadership is to be found in serving others. In serving others, there is no ulterior or selfish motive attached.
The lesson we can learn from Jesus is that he modeled the true servant style of leadership. This is found in service. He, being the Lord incarnate, had the humility to bend down and wash the feet of the disciples thus teaching them the true measure of leading by first serving others (John 13:12–17).
Serving others entail drinking from the cup of suffering Jesus drank. Great musicians and artists will pass through long and rigorous periods of practice and deprivation of comfort to prepare a trilling public performance of 15 minutes. Leaders are great servants who have passed through moments of trials and suffering to attain their greatness.
Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
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