…A subtle definition of what it means to be a leader
Continued from LAST WEEK
Thus, in Holy Communion, Jesus gives entirely of Himself, and encourages His Apostles in their celebration of the Eucharist to learn to give themselves rather than take from the flock. This is a sign of a leader, one who is ready to give himself or herself to the cause of the common good and realization of a community united in communion. Therefore, one should never limit the concept of leadership in the Church to a matter of position, but more importantly leadership must be a sign and instrument in the history of actualizing the mission of the Church. The Apostles James and John, by their request of sitting at the right and left of Jesus in His Kingdom, displayed a recognition of the Kingship and Authority of Jesus. However, the tone of their request implied a worldly kingdom where the King (Jesus) could be influenced to grant requests however flimsy they may be.
Little wonder then that Jesus said to them, “You do not understand what you are asking” (Mk.10:38). Indeed, many leaders do not understand what leadership entails hence the attitude to their responsibilities. “CAN YOU DRINK THE CUP THAT I DRINK ?” (Mk.10:38) is, therefore, a subtle definition of what it means to be a leader. According to Fulton J. Sheen: The ‘cup’, as used by Jesus is a symbol of the defeat which would be poured out to Him by faithless men. In the baptism of blood, He would be totally immersed in it: but the imagery also implied Purification or Resurrection. Brethren, leadership comes with sacrifice and that must be uppermost in our minds, if we must live up to our responsibilities. We must take out time periodically to reflect on the question of Jesus as addressed to James and John.
We must understand the content of our calling so as to appreciate our work and eventually contribute to the growth of the mission of the Church. In the light of this, I wish to task all of you on the need to constantly make a true examination of conscience whereby you will understand the task of leadership and work accordingly, even when the odds are too great for comfort. I pray that the task of being leaders in the Church will serve to improve the glory of God in our lives, and the salvation which man constantly craves. God bless you all.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos