21st Sunday in Ordinary time
Isaiah 22: 19 – 23. Romans 11: 33 – 36. Matthew 16: 13 – 20
We live in such a unique time. There are so many different visions of reality happening, it seems all around us. People live out these new realities as they see it and are so adamant that this is the true reality. We are bombarded by ideologies and philosophes from all parts of the spectrum. Some people are labeled as communists, some socialists etc. But these have all been tried and have not proven worthy. Then there are the folks in movements that seek to shape a whole new response to life. Groups like the white supremacists , gun enthusiasts, and conspiracy theorist, these all abound. To name a few. The system just isn’t working for so many people. People talk about their experience of oppression, injustice, racism, and more. There is something wrong, and something has to change.
That’s where we come in. It seems to me that there needs to be a peaceful revolution. We live as believers in Jesus Christ first and foremost. We live in the reality of His life and the Kingdom of God, the vision of life given to us by Christ himself. We live always in the realm of God’s life and love; that’s what shapes our life. The kingdom of God is here and now. Jesus told us that it is within you, and we each have a leadership role in it. We are to keep the Kingdom growing in the hearts and minds and in the lives of each person. We do so by our leadership roles, by our witness to Christ as His mystical body on earth. We have the solution – love one another as I have loved you. We hear it in the Acts of the Apostles – everyone held all things in common.
Everyone was ministered to. So today we seek to come to that same end by the vision Jesus gave us. We must take our rightful place in building the Kingdom now.
Just like Peter, we to have been given the keys to the Kingdom by our faith professed in Christ. Truly each Christian is a leader. Each of us as monks are leaders. For us, it starts by taking a leadership role in this Church of Mepkin. The monastic way is the way we promote and live the Kingdom, recognizing that our contemplative response to life is the way that can bring the kingdom toward fulfillment. And our role of leadership as Christians and as monks is real for us.
So, we as a community must work together, everyone taking their place, whether in our Divine Office, in our work, in the daily living out of the rule, we are responsible for making it all happen as it should. So, in our Mepkin way, we show forth the kingdom of God. The very Kingdom that Jesus teaches : Living the greatest commandment, that is shaped by the full teachings of Christ. Our little Church of Mepkin becomes a model for the wider Church, which is seeking to put flesh on the Kingdom values of Christ for the world. You can see it in the whole ministry of Pope Francis. He constantly talks about the peripheries, those folks who need to belong to the wider community, welcomed in, so to share in the life fully.
But the issue at hand is the keys we must possess to live out our appropriate leadership. The keys to this dynamic are the five essential qualities of a good leader.
Number one: Clarity: It is to be clear, to truly know what you are about. Our goal is seeking God in the contemplative way. There is no question about our vision and about what needs to
be accomplished. Clearly living in silence and solitude and prayer. Because we have come to know that these can lead us to live contemplatively and seek holiness.
Number two: Decisiveness: Since we know what we are about we don’t hesitate to commit. We show up and do all that is required. Whether it’s a good day or bad day. We surrender to our vision of life that is necessary every day.
Number three: Courage: With our clarity of purpose and decisiveness, we forge ahead with confidence and fortitude because we know the way. So difficult choices can be navigated on the journey to keep purposeful. We follow Christ, as he accepted his Cross and never turned away.
Number four: Passion: We have a deep ownership of our place and our role. We know our truth and our call. Like Peter, he could say it and mean it. You are the Christ. That clarity and passion were a grace. We have the grace of our call and our vowed life.
Number five: Humility: This seems to me, that this is the foremost key to servant leadership that we see in Christ. Humbly accepting his cross. And Jesus said to Peter, you will be led to where you do not want to go. Jesus meant his death. We know the twelve steps of humility that Benedict gives us in the Rule. That process is crucial to our life as monks and leaders for the kingdom. Humility helps to shape us into the every image of Christ for others. So, my Brothers, own it and live it.
We are blessed to be called to faith in Christ, to be called to live in the Kingdom and to be monks. We have the right vision of life. We declare it clearly and forcibly by our lives dedicated to Christ in the monastic way. We live by the dictates of the Spirit shaping our response to the world and willing to be models of servant leadership, accepting the suffering of our self-emptying to fulfill our vocation. And we recognize that our life at Mepkin is a beacon for the world of the life to come. We are confident that Christ will honor our commitment and energize us with his very life so to be all we are meant to be for Him.
That’s our faith and faith can move mountains. We can change the world into Christ step by step. Let’s do it.