If you missed the introduction and first mystery, you can find that article here: http://blog.euphemos.com/2016/12/15/leadership-lessons-in-the-luminous-mysteries-baptism-in-the-jordan/.
The second mystery is here http://blog.euphemos.com/2016/12/22/leadership-lessons-in-the-luminous-mysteries-wedding-at-cana/.
Proclamation of the Kingdom
The story, for those unfamiliar – This mystery isn’t so much a single story, as a reflection upon Jesus’s active ministry. After John was arrested, Jesus began to travel around proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom. He continued John’s message calling on people to repent (to change their ways), but extended it to indicate that the promised change had arrived. Like John, he avoided street-corner harangues, and did most of his teaching in out of the way places where people had to choose to come listen. Jesus came with the message that he was the one selected by God to bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. He encouraged others to love their enemies, and to do to others what they would like done to them.
Share good news
There’s something incredibly powerful about sharing good news. It is so easy to point out problems, but how often do we celebrate victories sincerely, or share good news? People want to be around those who bring good news.
Jesus didn’t only share good news, but he made good news. After he made the good news, his message wasn’t “look what I did” (although it was true) but rather “I’m the one who’s come to tell you about the good news.”
Jesus had the right news for the right person. It wasn’t about whether Jesus was more personally enthused about any one of poor, captives, blind, etc. Jesus was there to bring the right good news to each individual.
What’s some good news I can share? What can I do to make some? If I made it, how can I share it so it is about the hearer, not about me? What good news will resonate the strongest with the person with whom I am speaking right now?
Repentance and Dealing with Betrayal
There’s a common misunderstanding of repentance, and without being on the same page there, it is more difficult to address the topic in the light of leadership. Repentance means to turn around, or to change direction. Sometimes, that is misunderstood as applying only and primarily to people “on the wrong path,” which can make a call to repentance even harder to hear than it must. Neither Jesus nor John primarily focused their message of repentance upon people with an incompatible world-view. Instead, they focused their call to change upon persons with whom they already shared a common foundation. Many of their messages were addressed to leaders among the Scribes and Pharisees, the two major religious parties at the time, and none (as far as I can recall) were directed to the pagan people around them. That’s not to say that Jesus didn’t interact with the irreligious or those of a different faith tradition, but they were not his primary focus in the call to repentance. Both Jesus and John were calling religious people to repent. Repentance was not typically call to “quit worshiping various demons and deities, and worship God” but rather – “you already claim to worship God, how about you act like it.”
In short, repentance is primarily by and for those already on the path. It is for insiders, not outsiders, and for leaders as much as for those being led.
As a person who leads others, I am especially called to this continual conversion. I am charged with the responsibility of being open to correction, admitting when I’m wrong, changing my ways, and getting back to the business of helping the people I lead achieve success.
I am encouraged by Jesus’s example of dealing with Peter’s betrayal to do more than begrudgingly let those who betray or disappoint me prove themselves again. Jesus gave his disciple Peter a special role and additional responsibility within his team, then Peter betrayed him publicly. When Jesus (privately) confronted Peter, he didn’t berate him, but simply asked Peter “do you love me?” Jesus gave Peter a chance to express his true feelings and loyalty, affirming the things he betrayed by his previous words and actions. Jesus then turned around and encouraged Peter by telling him that he’d already (before this conversation) prayed that when (not if) Peter had repented and been re-converted, Peter would be strengthened so he could return to help his fellow disciples.
It’s hard to set aside revenge, harder to repay betrayal with trust, and perhaps hardest to repay hatred or apathy with love. Do I have the confidence to do so?
- Grace upon Grace – Christmas Day
- Kept in the heart – Solemnity of the Mother of God