I have been somewhat bemused by the intensity of interest in the US Presidential Elections, especially by family and friends, who are so disinterested in local Australian politics that they don’t even know the name of their local member. Such passion for something they have no influence over? And then their euphoria over Joe Biden? I am glad to see Trump go but I don’t have much faith in his replacement. He is 77 years old and is no Winston Churchill. This is a Mister Nice Guy who has never taken a stand on anything. Maybe the passion around him comes not so much from reality as the deep desire for good leadership that so many of us have.
This Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, or, in other words, Jesus Christ as our Leader. When we hear this Sunday’s Gospel, we will realise why euphoria is not the response we have to Jesus’ leadership. Here are no tax concessions nor promises of greatness or the assurance that he will make life easier and ‘free’. No, Jesus’ call is to us is to be compassionate, especially to the weakest and most alienated in our society – the poor, the stranger, the imprisoned, the grieving. Yes, all the people we are uncomfortable around. And we are then to serve them in the simplest of gestures: a little food, a little drink, a kind word all given as though it was to Jesus himself.
This isn’t a leadership that will change the world to make us comfortable. No, it is a leadership that challenges us to make others comfortable. It is a leadership that calls us to privilege the weakest in our society. Rarely will we have the opportunity for the big and grand gesture. Rather it will be the small gestures that will define our following of Jesus: helping the elderly aunt with the groceries, hearing our child’s story again (and again and again), being patient with our spouse, visiting shut ins (so needed as we live with Covid). Following Jesus our Leader in service like this will transform our world and our hearts. It will bring us the true peace and greatness that we crave.
Loving Jesus, give me the humility and strength to follow your leadership. Yes, I realise it will be taking up my cross, especially in the small things of life but, with the help of your Spirit, I know I can take my part in bringing peace of earth. I ask this in your name confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb