Leaders come in different shapes and sizes and exercise their leadership in different ways. At one end of the spectrum are those who will do anything to stay in power even when this means misuse of power and corruption. At the other end are those who lead with integrity, courage, humility and vision, conscious of their need to work collaboratively. God, through the prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading, is critical of those leaders who allow their people to be destroyed and scattered, but God also promises to raise up ‘shepherds to look after them, to pasture them, no fear, no terror for them any more, not one will be lost.’ This is followed by Psalm 23, the best known psalm of all, listing the qualities of the shepherd leader. Jesus demonstrates those qualities and calls himself the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Most of us exercise leadership in one form or another, whether that is a young person in the playground or a parent at home. Politicians, clergy, prophetic figures of our time and so many more demonstrate leadership, sometimes well and at other times less so. Today’s scripture shows us that Jesus is the model of leadership for all leaders, whoever they are.
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Go gently, Fr Bernard
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