Great Leaders

March 3, 2021 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

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Months from now, we will find ourselves preparing for national and local election. Campaign fever will then be on the hype. Candidates will have their own way and gimmicks of selling and advertising themselves. Meaning, they broadcast their own greatness, i.e. how great they are that they should deserve our votes.

But what is greatness? What does the world consider great nowadays? Who do we regard as great people today? Where does greatness rest? How do we measure greatness? Is it in popularity, good looks, eloquence, wealth, family heritage, influence, prestige or power? Do we still fall for the allurement that greatness of leaders lay in guns, gold and goons? Are people great because of their successes, achievements, awards and credentials?

Jesus has indeed a different view and perception of what greatness is. Here, Jesus was warning his disciples of his coming suffering, persecution and resurrection, but his disciples were more pre-occupied and concerned about who is the greatest among them. He then rebuke and warned them: “whoever wishes to be great among you, you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you, you shall be your slave.” In other words, if you want to be great, be servant of all.  If you want to be first, be a slave to all. For him, there is greatness in humble service and true greatness resides in humble service. He wants us to be servant-leaders, leaders who lead not by power or greatness but through humble service to others.

Many candidates for government office and leadership today declare that they decide to run because they claim they want to serve the Filipino people. They also advocate that only through their greatness and power they can serve us, Filipino. They promise that if we vote for them, they will serve us more and better than before and others.

If they are really serious with their promise of service, the test is after the election. If they win, would they serve us or serve themselves? If they lose, would they still serve us?

Jesus is telling our would-be leaders today: “If you want to be great, if you want to lead, if you want to be first, be a servant and slave of all. Practice what you preached. Walk the talk.”

For us now who have another chance to practice our right to vote our leaders, may we be wise enough to choose our leaders by their humble service to the nation rather than by their popularity, power and authority-based greatness.

As we pray to have good conscientious leaders, may we also be conscientious and wise enough to elect & vote rightful servant leaders for the future of our country & society. So Help Us God. So May it be. Amen.


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