Keys: A Leadership of Service (21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 24, 2014)

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Now this is not the key to the Pearly Gates, as some might think. Remember for Jesus the Kingdom of God was present here and now as well as in the future. So Peter and his successors would ideally wield the keys in such a way as to help the Church on earth flourish, or cause it to decline. I might add that we too have that responsibility for each other we each hold the keys to another’s growth or non-growth.

It does indeed fall to Peter and his successors to head an organization, but it is meant to be a leadership of service. Their call is not to rule by decree or by a “Because I said so” attitude, but to lead in such a way that faith, hope and love flourish within the community. As long as faith, hope and love are strong, the community will survive and grow. Even if mistakes are made, that’s OK growth can come from a humble admission that “We got it wrong this time.” Jesus never promised that the Spirit would keep our pastors free from mistakes. They are human, after all. But he did promise that they would never make a fatal mistake.

In today’s Church, there are many conflicting theologies and spiritualties. Thanks be to God Pope Francis seems to be trying to be a point of unity. I think he realizes that we are one Church composed of many churches, each expressing their unique faith, hope and love.

May God continue to bless Pope Francis’ ministry, and may God also bless our ministry to each other.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

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