Sunday strides are written based on the lectionary readings of the day from the Catholic Lectionary. A stride is a “step in progress towards an aim” – for me, a Sunday stride is another movement towards the greater. You can find this Sunday’s readings here.
Leadership is tricky. That’s why there are hundreds, maybe thousands of books on it. People are constantly trying to figure out new ways to lead. And for Christians, one model of leadership we go back to over and over again is that of Christ. His leadership is real, honest, inviting. He is probably one of the best motivational speakers of all time because people continued to follow him a couple thousand years after he died. Still, however, knowing this, I find leadership tricky. I find it hard to lead like Christ.
Perhaps it is so challenging to me because I am trying to envision how I can lead like Christ, how I can be Christ-like. I want to imitate HIs way with people. How he talks to the poor in such an inviting way while simultaneously laying down the law for those who are abusing God’s message. How strong He is when faced with opposition, how self-assured He is about His mission. Perhaps it is so challenging because I am thinking about it all wrong.
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. This past week, I invited two Jesuits in formation to speak to our student body about their vocation story, and they reminded me in light of the upcoming Solemnity of a portion of the Spiritual Exercises called the Call of the King. This is a contemporary translation they used to explain the Call of the King to the students:
“I [now] consider Jesus Christ our Lord and his call. If a human leader can have such an appeal to us, how much greater is the attraction of Jesus Christ, our Leader and King! Jesus’ call goes out to all peoples, yet he specially calls each person in a particular and unique way. He makes this kind of appeal: “It is my will to win over the whole world, to overcome evil with good, to turn hatred aside with love, to conquer all the forces of death – whatever obstacles there are that block the sharing of life between God and humankind. Whoever wishes to join me in his mission must be willing to labor with me, and so by following me in struggle and suffering may share with me in glory.” (Draw Me into Your Friendship: A Contemporary form of the Spiritual Exercises by David Fleming, S.J.)
The line that stood out to me the most, a line that I kept looking at and reflecting on long after the prayer service was over was “Jesus’ call goes out to all peoples, yet he specially calls each person in a particular and unique way.”
Jesus Christ calls us each in our own special and unique way.
If I really believe this statement, then perhaps my vision of imitating the leadership of Christ, of imitating Christ Himself is wrong. I am not supposed to be EXACTLY like Christ. I am supposed to be EXACTLY like me. Christ moves inside of me illuminating the special and unique way that I am called to be a leader, the special and unique way that I am called to help His mission.
He needs me, not a carbon copy of Himself.
He needs you, not a carbon copy of me.
And together, all of us, can carry on the Kingdom of God here on earth.
My prayer for you and me this week is that we can live even more into the person God created us to be… that we can be given the grace to believe that we are needed, exactly as we are, to serve Christ the King on earth.
Next week’s Sunday Stride will include a pdf of reflection for the first week of Advent. I hope these weekly sheets will prove useful to your reflection during the Advent season!