Servant leadership

Published October 17, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

WORD ALIVE

Fr. Bel San Luis

Once a priest was complaining why his bishop was naming “monsignors” again. “That’s no longer practiced,” he said.

And the bishop said to a friend, “You know, sometimes I wonder why when I give the purple attire to some priests, the faces of other priests turn either blue or green. Blue in anger and green in envy.”

* * *

That priest’s reaction is as old as Christ himself, as shown in today’s gospel (Matthew 20:17-28). We discern how human the disciples of Christ were, indeed. The gospel relates that the mother of James and John approached the Lord to allow his two sons to sit: one on his right, the other on his left in his Kingdom.

We have here clearly not only “palakasan,” (exerting influence) but also “sipsip” (ingratiating oneself for a favor) for two “mama’s boys.”

* * *

Jesus, sensing a party squabble, called his disciples together and lectured on them. He had to repeat a fundamental theme of his teaching. The idea of authority common at that time, to which the apostles clung, was that of a monarch, “lording it over others,” a conquering leader who liberates his people from their oppressors.

* * *

“It cannot be that way with you,” Jesus stressed. “Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest and whoever wants to rank first must serve the needs of all.” The disciple must be like the Master Jesus “who came not to be served, but to serve.”

* * *

Christ’s teaching on “servant leadership” applies likewise to political candidates, seeking various positions after filing their candidacies. Trouble is that candidates promise heaven and earth to serve, but once elected, they expect to be served – no longer service but “serve-us.” * * * One major problem in Philippine elections is that many voters sell their votes for a measly amount. They do not consider the competency, capability, and moral integrity of the vote-buying politicians. This is one major reason why our country has not progressed as it should. People should vote wisely. The country’s progress and success depend on a good leader.

* * *

Legacy of Alfred Nobel

Lately, we have been reading and hearing about the “Nobel Peace Prize” in relation to the award for press freedom received by Rappler chief executive Maria Rezza, first Filipino recipient of it. What’s the story behind this most prestigious of all awards?

* * *

In the year 1888, a man who invented dynamite had become very rich by selling guns and ammunition for killing people. One morning, he walked up to read his own death notice in the newspaper.

Actually, it was his brother who had died but a reporter had mistakenly written his life and obituary.

Now for the first time the man saw himself as the world saw him: the “dynamite king” and nothing more.

* * *

Horrified, he regretted what he had invented and decided to erase the bad image people had of him. Before he died , he left a substantial fund in the bank, the interest of which would be used to establish and support the prizes to be awarded for outstanding contributions in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, the economic sciences and the pursuit of world peace and development.

* * *

That is the story of the Swedish chemist-industrialist BERNHARD ALFRED NOBEL. Instead of being remembered as a “merchant of explosives” and “dynamite king,” he left behind a more noble legacy as a “man of peace.”

* * *

Your preoccupation may not be dealing with explosives like that of Alfred Nobel but it could be trading and marketing dangerous drugs or engaged in corrupt practices. Are you part of the solution to society’s numerous problems or a part of the problem? * * * How about you? What’s your legacy when you leave this world? Will you be remembered for something good or bad? Will your family and people, who know you, be proud or ashamed of you? Will the Lord God admit you into His heavenly Kingdom?

* * *

SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. How about helping our seminarians whose parents are badly affected by the economic crisis? Seminarians are very important in the Church. Without them we cannot have priests, missionaries, bishops and popes.

* * *

Donate any amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling good for one school year. For inquiry, e-mail me at: [email protected]

 
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