Tag Archives: servant leadership

11 June, Tuesday – On Barnabas

11 June – Feast of St. Barnabas, apostle

St. Barnabas (martyred AD61) founded the Church in Antioch. He was a Levite Jewish convert, coming to the faith soon after Pentecost. Barnabas is mentioned frequently in the Acts of the Apostles, and is included among the prophets and doctors at Antioch. Like Paul, Barnabas believed in the Church’s mission to Gentiles, and worked with him in Cyprus and Asia, but split with him over a non-theological matter. At the time of his death he was carrying a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew that he had copied by hand.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3 

A great number believed and were converted to the Lord.
The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
  Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’
In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

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Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

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Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand

St Barnabas, together with St Paul, evangelized to the earliest Christians and was instrumental in establishing Christianity among the many non-Jewish communities of that time. Barnabas was born to wealthy Jewish parents, and, as was customary amongst privileged young men of his time, was given an education, possibly with the same teacher who had taught St Paul. Scriptural accounts of Barnabas tell of a gentleman, filled with the Holy Spirit, focused on his work of evangelizing. His commitment ran so deep, he donated his inheritance to the early Christian Church. And despite his conservative Jewish roots, Barnabas was a staunch advocate of ‘inclusivity’ in the early Christian Church. He wanted Gentiles to feel like they belonged. This caused a bit of a scandal, that led to the Council of Jerusalem acknowledging that the Old Testament practices did not apply to Christians.

The Romans during the time of St Paul and St Barnabas were deep thinkers and cosmopolitan-minded. Their cities teemed with cultures from across the empire. They believed that commerce flourished only if peace prevailed. That peace hinged on strong leadership at the grassroots levels. Establishing the early Church threatened the uneasy power dynamic between the Romans and the Jews, so Paul and Barnabas found themselves persecuted quite often. In the end, Barnabas was martyred in Cyprus, where it is believed he was stoned to death.

By all accounts, St Barnabas’ life was filled with improbabilities. He was the son of a wealthy Jewish man, raised in privilege, shielded from the rough and tumble of daily life by his family’s money and status. Yet he gave this all up to walk with God. He could have had a comfortable, cookie cutter lifestyle, but he eschewed that for the struggle of being a first generation apostle. In the end, he was killed for it. Some would say this was a ‘waste’ of a life. But God uses the foolish to shame the wise (1 Cor 1:27). What is crazy from a distance makes complete sense when looked at closely, through the filter of faith and the Holy Spirit.

In our dark days of shameless self-promotion, rampant corruption and ruthless partisan politics, let us ponder for a while on a character such as St Barnabas – unassuming, humble, patient, peace-loving, a leader of the people. There are the politicians who scheme and plot to get themselves elected. And then there are leaders like Barnabas. Wouldn’t it be something if out of the dregs of humanity now, someone like such rose to be a leader amongst us?

(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for leaders who are guided by their moral compass, not their financial calculators and personal balance sheets.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all who selflessly go into public service.

7 November, Monday – Consistency Inwards and Out

7 November

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Titus 1:1-9

From Paul, servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion; and to give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised so long ago by God. He does not lie and so, at the appointed time, he revealed his decision, and, by the command of God our saviour, I have been commissioned to proclaim it. To Titus, true child of mine in the faith that we share, wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our saviour.

The reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything organised there and appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you: that is, each of them must be a man of irreproachable character; he must not have been married more than once, and his children must be believers and not uncontrollable or liable to be charged with disorderly conduct. Since, as president, he will be God’s representative, he must be irreproachable: never an arrogant or hot-tempered man, nor a heavy drinker or violent, nor out to make money; but a man who is hospitable and a friend of all that is good; sensible, moral, devout and self-controlled; and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it.

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Luke 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the Sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones. Watch yourselves!

If your brother does something wrong, reprove him and, if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, “I am sorry,” you must forgive him.’

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’

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“Each of them must be a man of irreproachable character”

I am a movie buff and especially enjoy a good action or thriller movie.  One particularly memorable movie I remember was ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. The movie still sends chills down my spine even after so many years.

In this movie, a poor young man schemes, forges, lies and murders his way to a life of luxury and wealth. Along the way, he assumes the identity of another, making others around him believe that he is extremely wealthy and cultured, while he hatches his various plots to hang on to his ill-gotten wealth.

As the movie progresses, his façade unravels at an increasing pace, and Ripley is forced to take drastic measures to prevent others finding out his falsehoods. Despite having the money he has obtained from his ruses, Ripley remains a poor imitation of the real thing. He is, at the end of the movie, clearly well-off, but destined to live a life of loneliness and continued deceit.

Unlike such a character, the apostle Paul, in the reading today, lists the qualities of the elders he wanted appointed in every town. These qualities required the men to be authentic, that their behavior must reflect their values; so much so that the men would remain steadfast and have a consistent grasp of defending and explaining the message of the Gospel.

Brothers and sisters, in our spiritual lives, we too need to always remain steadfast and firm. The temptations of the world are numerous and sin is literally around every corner. Let us always keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not be swayed by those around us.

(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)

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Prayer: Lord, may we be always mindful that You can truly see us for who we are. We ask that You may give us strength to truly live a truly authentic Christian life.

Thanksgiving: Thank You for showing us how to live our lives Father. We are grateful for the freedom that this truth brings to our lives O God!

20 August, Saturday – Greatness Redefined

20 August – Memorial for St. Bernard, Abbot, Doctor

Bernard (1090-1153) founded and led a monastery which had over 700 monks and 160 daughter houses. He revised and reformed the Cistercians, and was advisor to, and admonisher of, King Louis the Fat and King Louis the Young, and spritual advisor to Pope Eugenius III, who had originally been one of his monks. Every morning Bernard would ask himself, “Why have I come here?”, and then remind himself of his main duty – to lead a holy life.

– Patron Saint Index

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Ezekiel 43:1-7

The angel took me to the gate, the one facing east. I saw the glory of the God of Israel approaching from the east. A sound came with it, like the sound of the ocean, and the earth shone with his glory. This vision was like the one I had seen when I had come for the destruction of the city, and like the one I had seen on the bank of the river Chebar. Then I prostrated myself.

The glory of the Lord arrived at the Temple by the east gate. The spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; I saw the glory of the Lord fill the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from the Temple while the man stood beside me. The voice said, ‘Son of man, this is the dais of my throne, the step on which I rest my feet. I shall live here among the sons of Israel for ever.’

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Matthew 23:1-12

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’

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“The greatest among you must be your servant”

I never really knew my dad, who passed away in 2006, having grown up in Singapore while he lived in Taiwan from the time I was about 10. Oddly, I remember having a couple of conversations with him about work. While the actual conversations are really vague (40 odd years IS a long time!), the main topic was about his bosses during the time he was working as a geophysicist. The feeling I got was that his bosses were less-than-ideal and his brushes with his bosses were great fodder for a father-and-son chat. What struck me was his comment that he would have made a better boss.

I have gone on to enter the working world since those conversations with my dad and have had similar conversations with friends and colleagues about ‘bosses’. Yes, we had good bosses and more bad ones. Again, many conversations ended with the conclusion that we would make better bosses than the ones we had.

However, no conversation ever took place about what it meant to be a great leader. I suspect that if we did have these discussions, we would probably have said that our bosses would be totally knowledgeable, impartial, kind, caring, fair, funny, balanced and driven.

My thoughts about great leadership came about when I was leading teams in my jobs. While I understood what attributes a great leader should have, I found it extremely difficult to manage. Work was not just about dealing or managing the team, but also working with clients, (highly) expectant bosses and other stakeholders. To this day, I feel I had fallen short of the qualities that I had deemed important qualities of great leadership.

Today’s gospel goes contrary to the way leadership is viewed in the commercial world. While I thought what I was practicing was ‘servant leadership’, the reality was that the whole basis of my leadership was self-serving. At the foundation of the approach still lay the need to have recognition from others. I wanted my team to think that I was the best boss they ever had, while achieving top results in terms of performance. Without realizing it, I wanted my bosses to pat me on my back, singing my praises.

The basis of true ‘servant leadership’ cannot be so. One cannot be a true servant with even one eye on ourselves; we would be too busy protecting our own interests if we were to do so. We can model and draw strength from our Lord, who gave up His life to show us the true meaning of what ‘servant leadership’ really means.

“Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the cross, He endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now has taken His place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way He stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.”(Heb 12:2-4)

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, we pray that we can be true servant leaders and become conduits of Your love. Help us Father to not look at ourselves in our service to others, and to You.

Thanksgiving: We thank you for showing us the right path to take, to be more like You. Thank you Lord for always giving us strength to make the right choices as we walk towards Your eternal kingdom.

16 August, Tuesday – Stewardship

16 August – Memorial for St. Stephen of Hungary

When he succeeded his father as chief of a group of people, Stephen adopted a policy of Christianisation in Hungary for both political and religious reasons. He suppressed a series of revolts by pagan nobles and welded the Magyars into a strong national group. As king, Stephen established a system of tithes to support churches and pastors and to relieve the poor. Out of every 10 towns, one had to build a church and support a priest. He abolished pagan customs with a certain amount of violence, and commanded all to marry, except clergy and religious. He was easily accessible to all, especially the poor.

– Patron Saint Index

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Ezekiel 28:1-10

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, ‘Son of man, tell the ruler of Tyre, “The Lord says this:

Being swollen with pride,
you have said: I am a god;
I am sitting on the throne of God,
surrounded by the seas.
Though you are a man and not a god,
you consider yourself the equal of God.
You are wiser now than Danel;
there is no sage as wise as you.
By your wisdom and your intelligence
you have amassed great wealth;
you have piles of gold and silver
inside your treasure-houses.
Such is your skill in trading,
your wealth has continued to increase,
and with this your heart has grown more arrogant.
And so, the Lord says this:
Since you consider yourself the equal of God,
very well, I am going to bring foreigners against you,
the most barbarous of the nations.
They will draw sword against your fine wisdom,
they will defile your glory;
they will throw you down into the pit
and you will die a violent death
surrounded by the seas.
Are you still going to say: I am a god,
when your murderers confront you?
No, you are a man and not a god
in the clutches of your murderers!
You will die like the uncircumcised
at the hand of foreigners.
For I have spoken–it is the Lord who speaks.”’

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Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ When the disciples heard this they were astonished. ‘Who can be saved, then?’ they said. Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he told them ‘this is impossible; for God everything is possible.’

Then Peter spoke. ‘What about us?’ he said to him ‘We have left everything and followed you. What are we to have, then?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you solemnly, when all is made new and the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you will yourselves sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life.

‘Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.’

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“Amen I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Is wealth in, and of itself, a bad thing? The gospel tells us “it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23). But what if one is born into it? Then what happens? The life of Saint Charles Borromeo offers insight into our gospel readings. Born into Italian nobility, the young Charles was groomed in business and politics by his uncle Pope Pius IV and his parents, the Count of Arona and Countess Margherita de’ Medici. Charles understood early on, that the immense Medici family wealth was not for personal pleasure. Fortune and influence required responsible stewardship.

In his twenties, he dedicated much of his time to helping Pope Pius IV organize the Council of Trent and the Tridentine Catechism. He did all while continuing to oversee the Borromeo family’s interests in Arona. Later as Archbishop of Milan, Charles Borromeo took on the task of reforming the archdiocese, cleaning up years of abuse, indulgence and corrupt practices. This made him very unpopular with his peers, but he remained steadfast despite the opposition. His was a life dedicated to work and God’s service. It wasn’t that he eschewed his family’s influence. Borromeo simply found a way of using the providence of his birth for His good. We know he exercised the Medici pedigree when he needed to get things done, it’s the end that justified his means. Material gain in, and of itself, is not a sin. Pride and not applying good stewardship to one’s providence is. We need to look no farther than the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew. The servants were all given an equal measure of their master’s wealth to invest; they didn’t start from nothing; i.e., they did not necessarily begin in poverty. But the one who is finally ushered into his master’s house is the one who showed initiative, daring, responsibility and accountability.

Very often, those who are wealthy feel uneasy about their gain, as if wealth alone is reason enough to be locked out of heaven. Yes, it is hard for the rich to enter His great kingdom. But our circumstances alone do not determine our final home. God doesn’t discriminate against us because of our circumstances. We’re denied entry into the Kingdom of Heaven because we abuse the providence of His gifts, instead of using them to give glory to Him.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for the humility and self-awareness to be good stewards of the gifts He bestows upon us.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for our parents and their dedication to giving us a good upbringing.

10 August, Wednesday – We reap what we sow

10 August – Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Lawrence was a third-century archdeacon of Rome, a distributor of alms, and “keeper of the treasures of the Church” in a time when Christianity was outlawed. On 6 August 258, by decree of Emperor Valerian, Pope St. Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence as the ranking Church official in Rome.

While in prison awaiting execution, Sixtus reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it.

On Aug 10, Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome’s crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church. He died a martyr for the faith.

Lawrence’s care for the poor, the ill, and the neglected have led to his patronage of them. His work to save the material wealth of the Church, including the documents, brought librarians and those in related fields to see him as a patron, and to ask for his intercession. And his incredible strength and courage when being grilled to death led to his patronage of cooks and those who work in or supply things to the kitchen. The meteor shower that follows the passage of the Swift-Tuttle comet was known in the middle ages as the “burning tears of St. Lawrence” because they appear at the same time as Lawrence’s feast.

– Patron Saint Index

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2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.

The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one.

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John 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’

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Whoever serves me must follow me

I sometimes get caught up in my self-righteous thoughts that I am worthy of God’s blessings and providence. I have made some comparisons regarding the situations in my life to others I know — either Sunday Catholics or non-believers, and even a lady who has same sex attraction. At the outset, it seemed that these people were happier than me. I told myself surely that is the wrong way to go, knowing that God has a plan in my life. I could not blame God for my own lack of happiness, because happiness is both a choice and a decision on my part. In a sense, I was focussing on “The Father will honour who serves me”, totally discounting this verse, “whoever serves me, must follow me”.

It is human nature to follow what we want and to ignore what we choose, but today’s gospel tells us that following Jesus is our service. In the weeks leading up to World Youth Day, I regretted the decision of signing up for the mission, thinking merely about the comforts and security of my home and being selective about the pilgrims on my journey. But God, in His goodness, turned my heart around and convicted me that it was His will for me to go on this pilgrimage with His chosen ones. The power of His purification was to a point that I was open to anything, which gave me a great sense of peace about my journey, travel, health, safety as well as the responsibilities I leave behind. Was that following Him? It sure feels like it.

How is God calling you to follow Him today? What familiar shores are you called to leave now? Are you sowing riches abundantly to the poor and needy or are you giving only when there is excess?

Today, let us open our hearts to reach out to the poor, the forgotten, the lonely, the Sunday Catholics, the non believers. This should be our way of following in the footsteps of Our Lord. Let us forgive, love, embrace, accept as He would, let us emulate His Sacred Heart.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Josephine Dionisappu)

Prayer: Father, give us a heart like yours that we may want to follow your ways and answer each time you call. St Lawrence, pray for us. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for blessing us and providing for us Father, we are so undeserving.

25 July, Monday – Leading by becoming a servant

25 July – Feast of St. James, Apostle

St. James (died 44) was the first Apostle to be martyred. He preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. His work in Spain, and the housing of his relics there, led to his patronage of the country and all things Spanish.

Like all men of renown, many stories grew up around St. James. In one, he brought back to life a boy who had been unjustly hanged, and had been dead for five weeks. The boy’s father was notified of the miracle while he sat at supper. The father pronounced the story nonsense, and said his son was no more alive than the roasted fowl on the table; the cooked bird promptly sat up, sprouted feathers, and flew away.

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2 Corinthians 4:7-15

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

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Matthew 20:20-28

The mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

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…whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

I have been meeting regularly with my 3 unit heads of late, in preparation for my three-week absence in September, when I embark on my Camino. Truly, it has been a trying time at work, with disunity and discord reigning. The vibes have been obvious over the past few weeks and I have had to carefully manage the dynamics of the new team since three new hires came on board from last year. I always predicted that this day would come, when those who have been with me longer would feel a certain way towards those who have just come on board and have yet to ‘prove their worth’.

More and more, I have come to realise why I have been put in this role and what He has in store for me. I tell my staff members that I am there to guide them and to help them become better leaders and better communicators. How I do it truly depends on who I am dealing with. But I encourage every one of them to treat each project/task/day as a learning journey. Not just with me but with all those around them, especially those who have been around for more than two years. I emphasise that none of us is smarter, more knowledgeable or better than the other. Our strength comes from our collective wisdom and the unity that we all need to have.

Hence I open myself to criticism, comments and the opinions of those around me. It is quite a vulnerable position to find myself in sometimes but I believe that it is the only way I can be Christ-like in my approach to leading a motley crew of professionals who each have their own unique stories. No longer am I in charge of a group of young, single, bright-eyed upstarts. I have staff who themselves are parents with responsibilities at home, who have to care for aging parents and who have other personal issues to deal with. At the same time, I am bringing in new staff to help cope with the increasing responsibilities placed upon my team.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus himself taught us that in order to lead, one must be compassionate and merciful in order to win the hearts of those who follow. Indeed, that is what I have been reflecting on as I begin to contemplate who will take on my burden for the three weeks in September that I am gone. I truly am hoping that my 3 colleagues will unite as one in order to take on the challenges ahead. I ask for your prayers, that they may be enlightened and learn what it means to be a servant leader.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for an outpouring of your graces upon all those who are in leadership roles at work, at home and in ministry. Give them a heart filled with mercy, compassion and love so that they may lead from the heart.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we give thanks to You for all the times you have guided us through the rough waters at work, at home and in our parishes.