A Message from Fr. Jay
One of the most special moments in my life is the day of my ordination on April 11, 1999. The moment the Bishop vested me as a priest with the Stole and Chasuble, I felt such joy as the power and authority from God was bestowed on me to lead the people in spirituality with goodness and humility. Therefore, every time I vest in the Sacristy, I gladly kiss the Stole before putting it around my shoulders.
History has seen all different types of leadership. Autocracy, aristocracy, bureaucracy, theocracy, democracy, dictatorship and kingship are all a few examples of political leadership. Any type of leadership is vested with power. The purpose of vesting with power is to lovingly lead toward achieving common good and welfare of the subjects without any discrimination. When God created the universe, He vested such powers to Adam and Eve to rule over the universe, resembling His image and likeness. It is the ego, induced by Satan through desire and greed, that led them to selfishness and there enters corruption.
This corruption is found in all the systems in the world under any type of leadership. God sent His Son, Jesus, as incorruptible with the distinctive leadership called “Servant Leadership”- full of humility; even to the extreme that He was sacrificed Himself.
The readings this weekend talk about such leadership and authority given to the chosen ones.
In the first reading, Shebna the Court official, was corrupt and adorned himself with power and money. He didn’t realize the need for pleasing the Lord as per the Law when the Assyrians were about to wage war on the Israelites. Therefore, the Prophet Isaiah says that God will replace the corrupt master of the palace with a simple, humble and faithful servant, Eliakim.
In the gospel, after Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of living God, Jesus promises Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Although this proclamation from Peter came spontaneously, it was actually a revelation from the Father, Himself. Peter is a character who admired our Lord at all times, sought to be with Him always, yet with weak determination (remember the previous week’s gospel – Peter wanting to walk on the water to reach Jesus but started to sink; not wanting his Master to be suffering passion and death, denying Jesus three times, the story of Quo Vadis etc.) But God chose him to be the rock. Why? The answer comes in the second reading, which some call the ‘Magnificat of Paul’, where it says “How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” Yes. God’s ways are always distinctive.
Jesus left us – the weak, simple and corruptive people – the Servant Leadership and has vested His power with it so as to humble ourselves and lose ourselves for others. God trusts us!
How can I best exercise the power vested in me through Servant leadership?
Fr. Jay Raju
- Reading 1: Isaiah 22:19-23
- Reading 11: Romans 11:33-36
- Gospel: Mathew 16:13-20