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Summary: They learned to match their “I.Q. with their “I do;” if anybody wants to be first (a leader) the person has to be willing to serve all.

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The apostles get a little seminar on servant leadership from Jesus in our Gospel today. They learned match their “I.Q. with their “I do;” if anybody wants to be first (a leader) the person has to be willing to serve all.

In reality everyone is acknowledged as a leader because everyone has influence over others.

The author Tony Baron would say that servant leadership lesson they got, taught the Apostles to get rid of their “R.A.T. Problem” that can affect any group of people or organization.

R: Relationship issues: the inability to get along under stressful conditions; “they were arguing amongst themselves who was the greatest,” right when Jesus was trying to tell them about his saving death

and resurrection.

When it comes to leadership, those who use aggressive humor like put-downs, which sounds like what the Apostles were doing, rate much lower than leaders who use self-deprecating humor. And, overall, transformational leaders who are seen as using more humor rate higher than low or no humor leaders.

--In effect, Jesus probably said something like, “Unless Your Name Is Google Stop Acting Like You Know Everything!”

The Key point Jesus was modeling for them: instead of trying to convince others that you are the best or most capable, design your leadership for the sake of others, which is sacrificial.

Of all acts, sacrifice is perhaps the least retractable; indeed that it is central to its import (Lambek 2007).

And, following Rappaport’s hierarchy of sanctity, sacrifice could be the most profound of ritual acts, serving as the ultimate ground of value (Lambek 2008).

e.g. Jesus’ sacrifice is that he will be “handed over to men,” which is in the passive form, “handed over,” called the divine passive because it’s something that must happen to him.

“Handed over to men” means that all humanity rather than a particular agent is responsible for Jesus’ death; and all can receive salvation for all those who accept Him by faith and baptism and live in His grace.

The “A”: stands for Authority issues:

Our Gospel text says, “But they did not understand the saying [that Jesus would be killed and rise in three days] and they were afraid to question him.”

They probably got stuck on the part of him being killed and could not process the part of rising in three days or the whole purpose of it all.

In the Book of the Five Rings, a famed Samurai swordsman notes the difference between observing and perceiving.

The perceiving eye is weak, he wrote; the observing eye is strong.

The observing eye sees simply what is there; events, clear of distractions, exaggerations, misperceptions.

The perceiving eye sees more than what is there; insurmountable obstacles, major setbacks. It brings our own issues into the fight.

This means don’t believe everything you think if drawn from your subjective, perceiving eye.

Our minds are thought-creating machines. Many of these thoughts are fear-based. Our authentic, prayerful self has the power to pick the thoughts that best serve us and those we lead.” (Henna Inam.)

The “T”: Stands for Transition issues: Either making constant changes or not making one when there is the need for change.

Prayer, fasting, penance is advisable before making a big change.

“Without vision, the people perish,” says the Bible. That means having clean hands and a pure heart, which is repeated in Scripture, so one can perceive the things of God.

It’s the vivid mental image communicated by our faith and spiritual realities that inspires greatness, unites people, and like the Apostles learned, is always bigger than any one person.

Amen.

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