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Gospel reflection

November 24, 2013: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

A peaceful place for a moment of spiritual retreat is along the path of the Outdoor Way of the Cross.

What traits of a good leader do we see in Jesus, not just on the cross but throughout his life?

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:35-43)


In our day and age, most of us have little or no experience of being governed by a king, so it may be difficult to “get into” this feast of Christ the King.
Jesus himself seemed to like the title of “shepherd” but again that’s probably outside our experience.
The title of “leader” is probably familiar, however, and hopefully one we can all relate to because we all have opportunities to be leaders at least on a small scale.
So what are some of the properties of a good leader or a good ruler?
In this Gospel we see some of them in Jesus, who endured nasty words on top of horrible suffering and said nothing back, but spoke kind words in return for kindness.
So a good leader is patient and kind. Thinking more about Jesus as a good leader, we see that a good leader is willing to suffer for those in her or his charge– and inspires others to do the same. A good leader doesn’t use power selfishly.
What other traits of a good leader do we see in Jesus, not just on the cross but throughout his life?


See what you can add to the list above of qualities of a good leader, and share your list with a friend, family member or mentor. Then watch for a chance to be a leader. Perhaps you can lead on a small scale with a sister, brother or friend; perhaps you will have a leader role on a somewhat bigger scale such as class officer or team captain.
As you lead, try to be conscious of following the good example of Jesus the Leader, also known as Christ the King.

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Sister Ellen Cunningham

Sister Ellen Cunningham has been a Sister of Providence since 1959. She has ministered as a high school teacher in English, French, chemistry and religion. For 38 years she ministered at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) teaching mathematics, which included 12 years as a department chair. Since her retirement in 2012, Sister Ellen has volunteered at SMWC in the alumni relations office.

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