Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leadership Homily

Fr. Michael Denk
Year B 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Barnabas 5pm, 7:30 and noon

Joshua gathered all of “their elders, their leaders,their judges, and their officers” and declared:
“As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua was telling them what Leadership really means.

(The following is adapted from Fr. Corapi’s conference)

Lead by Example
Respect and reverence those you are leading
Plan, Prepare and Practice

L – Lead by example from the front. To get an army to march anywhere, it needs to be lead…preferably from the front
E – Educate. If you are waiting for the church to educate your children you are remiss losers. It is not the church’s job to educate your children. You need to educate them and you can’t do that unless you yourself are continuing to learn and be educated. It’s up to you. Know your faith, own your faith, and teach your faith. The church offers adult education programs for you to grow in your faith. Read the bulletin get involved, pick up a book at Grismer’s. Every household should have a bible and a Catechism of the Catholic Church (We believe in Scripture and Tradition).
A – Attitude: Your attitude sets the tone for the family. What is the attitude you take towards your faith? Are you excited and passionate about your faith? Do you look at it with disdain or apathy? So will your children.
D – Discipline. We become disciples by discipline. First putting ourselves under the discipline of the Lord and doing what asks of us, second, by self-discipline, and 3rd by disciplining our children. Discipline is the training that helps us to accomplish a certain task or adopt a pattern of behavior. We will never have a routine of prayer or the willpower to come to mass without discipline. We need to discipline ourselves because we can sometimes be so distorted to think that we don’t want to come here and receive God’s love and so yes we do need to discipline ourselves to come here and to pray on a regular basis. And our children do need to be disciplined. They need to come here whether they want to or not.
E – Empower. Good leaders empower people. They don’t have to do it all, rather they allow others to take part in the leadership. Empower your family to learn their faith and nurture a love of the faith in them. This is the most important thing that you do. If you fail to hand on your faith in a way that they will live it out then you have failed gravely.
R – Reverence and Respect those whom you lead. Leadership is not about enslaving, it is about serving. Jesus has such a reverence for us that he never forces us, he no longer calls us slaves, he calls us friends. We hear in the reading from Paul to the Ephesians to Be subordinate to one another. Put the other person first. Reverence them as a human being created in the image of God.
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.For the husband is head of his wifejust as Christ is head of the church,he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ,so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives,
S – Sacrifice. No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown. For a winning team, the players must sacrifice. Anything worth having is worth sacrificing for. So yes, faith does require sacrifice, serving God does require the cross. The most important thing that we do is come to mass on Sunday and sacrifices need to be made. Soccer games must be missed along with other sporting events, we have to sacrifice sleeping in, or being inside when it’s beautiful out there. Maybe it even means sacrificing work. It does call for sacrificing our time, talent and treasure. Giving back to God and his people. Loving God and loving our neighbor requires sacrifice. We must lead by laying down our lives so that others may live more fully.
H – Humility. Real leaders are humble because they know that ultimate power comes from God and not them. Jesus showed us a true leader when he knelt down to wash his disciple’s feet. He humlbled himself taking the form of a slave. Humility is ultimately realizing that God is God and I am not.
I – Initiation. Seize the day. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. 'Pray like it is all up to God, but work like it is all up to you.'
P – Plan, Prepare, Practice. Good leaders have a plan, they prepare, and they practice. Have some idea of how you’re going to practice your faith. What do you need to do differently? How are you going to make the time to educate yourself, get involved, and be fully invested in faith? So maybe it is really difficult to get your kids here to mass on time. Plan how you are going to do it. Do drills like a fire escape. Plan where you are going to go to mass when you go on vacation. Plan your day around the mass not your mass around your day.

This is what it means to be a leader, this is what it means to be a Christian. This is the message that Joshua was screaming out to their elders, their leaders,their judges, and their officers.

If you are in a leadership position either at home at work hopefully like Joshua you can say with conviction: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

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