22 Jan

“Never follow a leader that is more in love with power than people.”  ~ Native American Proverb

In his first letter to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul admonished the community, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be  united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”

Paul had heard that there was division among the community because they were pledging themselves to and following different leaders.  Paul knew that our only true leader is Jesus Christ.  However, some were positioning themselves as spiritual leaders, potentially misleading the community.

We live in a world that is steeped in sin.  Original sin has so permeated our world that people have a hard time seeing the truth in things.  Because of this, there are people who establish themselves as spiritual leaders and accrue quite a following.  The only problem is that many of these so-called “leaders” are charlatans at best and mortally dangerous at worst.

Look at the history of cults throughout the years.  There have been fanatical leaders of large groups of people who have led their communities to death.  Mass poisonings and brutal murders were the result of people pledging themselves to a false religious ruler.  These are the kinds of things that Paul wanted to warn his community against.

When someone is more in love with power than with people, trouble is just around the corner.  A person in love with power will lead others astray if for no other reason than to ensure his or her power, leadership, and authority.

A true leader will always be more concerned about others than about having power and authority over others.  Being concerned about others, that leader does achieve a certain authority but always uses that authority for the good of all rather than for the good of self.

We could look through history and recount leaders and charlatans who have led people astray maybe even to their doom.  We could look at our world today and point out many so-called leaders who are more concerned about their own power and authority than about the people they gather around themselves.  But if we do this, we miss the main admonition of Paul’s reading and of Jesus Himself.

Let’s not look out at others but rather look within and see if we have a love for power and authority over others rather than a care and concern for the well-being of others. Let us make sure that we are living appropriately in this world.

FAITH ACTION:  Ask God for the grace to serve others with humility.