HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: LEADING BY CARING
BY: Rev. Fr. Livinus Igbodekwe
(THE FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF ST PETER)
(1 PETER 5:1-4, MATT 16:13-19)
The holy apostle, St Peter has throughout the spanning years of the Church’s history been accorded the honour of being the Primus inter pares among the Lord’s apostles. This honour is not made up by the church but is an esteemed position given to him by our Lord through the leading of the Holy Spirit (Matt 16:13-19). It is as if Our Lord throws the question regarding the popular opinions of His identity in order to see whom the Holy Spirit would give the right answer first so as to get this honour.
The Lord always talked to Peter as the leader of His newly found group which He would be leaving in his care (Jn 21:15-18). The Lord reminded him of how much he would endure from the sheep.
I think the apostle is acting as a coach in leadership in the first reading. He first of all reminds the leaders and elders that he himself is a fellow elder. And on top of that he is a step higher than them by the honour of being an apostle. He informs them that he has followed the Lord very closely especially during His passion and death. So his Apostolic experience of leadership comes directly from the Lord, who assumed the duty of a servant instead of a Master (Jn 13:13,14) and laid down His life willingly for His flock.
In the same way the Christian elder must lead by caring for the flock. The flock have never been easy breed to deal with because they are ignorant and weak and depend heavily on the shepherd for guide and protection.
He outlines what should inform our attitudes:
1. Stewardship spirit: the sheep is not theirs but the Lord’s. So they shouldn’t treat them as they deem fit but as it pleases the Master.
2. Willful Dedication: their services must be willful and not forceful as if they are coerced into it.
3. Exemplary: the leader stands in front of the flock because the flock should trust him and follow in his step. They must lead by their good examples.
St Peter is an icon of Christian Leadership. Let us ask his help and intercession as we extend same spirit of leadership by caring for others in different areas of our life and professions. I wish you a blessed Thursday!