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Lent3rd S,March 20,11

Lent 3rd S, March 20,11

Mt 20:17-28

I am sure you are very familiar with the following words from the inaugural speech from President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. It was a call for selfless action. A lot of young people, responding to that call, fanned across the poor counties of the world to help them to rise from their economic and educational backwardness. Working for other people became a great and noble call.

Robert Greenleaf’s book on Servant Leadership explains who a great leader is: a good leader is one who strives to enhance the potentials of the people entrusted to his care. Servant leadership is a new definition of leadership. Leadership does not consist in dominance but in helping others to become great.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about leadership among his followers.

Jesus first explains to his disciples the most important phase of his mission. He is referring to his passion, death and resurrection. It is through suffering and crucifixion that he is going to achieve the redemption of the human race. But he will rise up and thus will conquer the forces of death and destruction

It is through suffering for others that He will attain the glory of the Resurrection. Jesus as the leader will suffer for his people. It is the people that are important. He would wash their feet. He would do every thing for them, going all the way to the ultimate sacrifice of his life.

To the apostles, Jesus offers thus a new vision of leadership. The mother of the Zebedees does not grasp the full implications of what Jesus said. She has desires like any other human mother. Her sons who are following Jesus should not end up in their lives without anything. There should be some tangible benefits for their sacrifices. They and the family should get some thing in return. But Jesus offers something intangible which could not be quantified.

We get different roles in life as authorities and mentors. As parents, teachers and priests, how do we discharge our responsibilities? Do we use our positions for our dominance over others or do w e use them for the good of the people entrusted to our care. As parents, do our attempts consist just in promoting our personal glory or are we concerned with the real welfare of the family that is entrusted to our care?

We may experience many hardships in our roles as parents and mentors. People may not appreciate what we are doing. We may suffer failures, financial disasters, loss of jobs etc. We may not be considered great administrators. We may feel despondent in our work because of failures. But we should remember that we are following Jesus. His path to success is through the way of the cross.

Never be afraid of failures. The cross is our road to hope and success.

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