Today's readings can be found here.
Two types of leaders exist: those that bring people together and those that create a divide and separate people. In Ephesians, we are told that Christ Jesus came to “break down the dividing wall” between the Jews and the Gentiles. Many of us would be considered Gentiles by blood and the law. The Old Testament law would have excluded us from God. Thank God that by Christ’s death and resurrection all humans enter into a new covenant where all have access to God.
Our Gospel tells us of Christ’s mercy and selfless leadership. Jesus and his disciples were trying to take a break from their work, he had said "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." But people wouldn’t leave them alone. They were following Him to hear what He would teach them. He tried again to move away from the crowd and recharge, but even more people came to hear Him. Jesus’ heart was moved to teach the people. Following this scene in the Gospel is the story of Jesus’ miracle of the loaves and fishes. This gospel dramatically shows the desire of Jesus, as our shepherd and leader, to take care of our physical and spiritual hunger.
The other type of leader is featured in the first reading from Jeremiah and serves as an example of God’s dislike for bad leadership. He says “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock.” In this day and age it is almost easy to be led astray. The internet and Google easily help us find “proof” that supports a point of view that we are trying to justify.
The real authority over all is God the Father, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This triune God has taught us what we need to know, and given us the authority over all if we only follow the utmost rule, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
God poured out his life for us and has given us leadership in our Church who have taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We must love others, love our Church, and pray for our leaders – especially our new pastor. May God grant him the gifts of leadership that he needs to lead St. Raphael’s parish to ripe pastures. May God always lead him to serve our parish and the entire Church with his special gifts. May the Lord give him the leadership to help us multiply our gifts to benefit our Church as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. Amen.