April 7, 2015
TUESDAY, first week of Easter:
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”
The Responsorial Psalm insists: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33). In the darkest times the earth is full of light if we look for it. When we feel like saying, “We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader” (Daniel 3: 25), the truth is, the Church is filled with prophets and leaders. We ourselves have the gifts of prophecy and leadership. We just have to use them.
In Acts 2: 36-41 Peter proclaims Christ’s defeat on the cross as his victory: “God has made him both Lord and Christ [Anointed, Messiah]…. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” St. Paul reaffirms this: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good: (1Corinthians 12:7). The gift of the Spirit is the fruit of Christ’s death and resurrection: his “first gift to those who believe.”
The ability to give us the Spirit is what makes Jesus able to be Lord and Savior today. Through his Spirit, enlightening and strengthening the members of his body on earth, Jesus is able to continue his mission in the world. The “earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” because Jesus is acting in and through us who are gifted with his Spirit.
This means that we are all called to be leaders. Anyone who sees what needs to be said or done in particular circumstances is called to exercise leadership by suggesting it or trying to get it done. Leaders don’t have to have authority (any more than authorities have to be leaders); we follow leaders voluntarily, because we believe they are right.
Leadership begins with example. If we begin doing what is right ourselves — especially what is prophetically right, right that has not yet been generally recognized as right — we give others a chance to follow. This is prophetic leadership.
John 20: 11-18 is one of many examples that show us Jesus using leaders to guide authorities. The Apostles were the ones to whom Jesus gave authority in the Church. But he gave them instructions on what to do through the women who were the first to go to the tomb (Matthew 28: 7, 10; Mark 16:7; John 20:17). And he used Paul to bring Peter, the chief among the Apostles, into line when Peter was afraid to do what was right (Galatians 2: 6-14). In the Old Testament God spoke more through the prophets than through the priests. In today’s Church, since all are prophets and priests by Baptism, we have no reason to assume that prophetic leadership is restricted to the ordained clergy. “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” We just have to use the gifts given to all.
Initiative: Be a prophet. Lead when you see the way.