Mercy is Giving Leadership
December 18: Saturday of the Third Week of Advent, Year C2
Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25
The army conducted a field exercise to identify “natural leaders.” At first, the sergeant who was in command led. When they got lost in the woods, a farm boy led. When they had to move equipment across a creek, a former construction worker led. Conclusion: in each set of circumstances, the natural leader is whoever knows what to do. But to assume leadership, one has to experience a relationship with others that engenders responsibility.
To accept the responsibility of leadership out of a sense of relationship is mercy. Jesus, as “a righteous shoot to David,” took responsibility for leading the people he was born into. Sometimes this brought him into conflict with authorities.
Authority is invested in a few, but all are called to be leaders. We are all called to give “the mercy of leadership” when we see what needs to be done where we live and work: in the church, in the country, in the human race. Authorities keep us together; leaders move us forward. Leaders try to work in harmony with authorities, but “harmony” presupposes people singing different notes.
“You are to name him Jesus [‘God saves’], because he will save his people.” Jesus saves now by giving leadership in and through all the members of his body anointed as “kings”—stewards of his kingship—in baptism.
Daily Practice: Speak out whenever you see what should be done.
Advent Prayer: “O Leader of the House of Israel, come to rescue us.”