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Consoling, Reconciling, and Missioning

April 14, 2024 | Third Sunday of Easter [C] | Commissioning of Parish Pastoral Leaders

St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish, Barangay Magallanes, Makati City


Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas, our parish priest, members of the Parish Pastoral Council, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:


Happy Easter po sa ating lahat!


I gladly thank the Lord who gathered us today to celebrate the Eucharist. We particularly thank God for the grace of a new set of leaders in our Parish Pastoral Council. The good service of lay leaders in the Church is the Lord's own sign of fulfilling His promise to send “shepherds after his own heart” (cf. Jer. 3:15b). Maraming salamat po sa paglilingkod ninyo sa Simbahan.


In the Gospel reading today (Lk 24:35-48), Luke narrates the appearance of the Risen Lord to His disciples. This passage reveals three important virtues for Christian leaders today: consoling, reconciling, and missioning.


Consoling

The first is consoling. When the Risen Lord appeared to His disciples, they were startled and terrified. They thought they were seeing a ghost; but in reality, they were not seeing a ghost. [Rather], they were seeing Jesus Himself, risen from the dead. Their fear is coming from the ghosts of their past failures, the ghosts of their past frustrations, the ghosts of their past hurts. All these projected into the Risen Lord.


To all these ghosts, Jesus responds with a greeting that is familiar to the Jewish people: Shalom Aleichem (Peace be with you). It is as if Jesus is telling them, “Do not be afraid. It is I, Jesus. The Jesus you have known. The Jesus you will make known. The Jesus who has healed and forgiven you. The Jesus who will keep loving you. Do not be afraid. It is really I whom you see; and I offer you consolation and peace.”


As Christians leaders, we can always expect that the people we serve will sometimes project their issues on us. They may misunderstand the good that we do. They may hurt us, abandon us, and even betray us. Even although we are simply serving them the best way we can. These are painful experiences; but whenever these difficulties occur, Christian leaders should choose to console their people rather than control them, condemn them, or combat them. Christian leaders should listen to their people with compassion, validate their concerns, and respond with effective love. Their leadership is an active continuation of the Lord's greeting, “Peace be with you.”


To be a Christian leader is to console people.


Reconciling

The second is reconciling. After the Risen Lord has consoled His disciples, He asked for something to eat. This is quite different from John's narrative wherein the Risen Lord was the one preparing and offering food (cf. Jn. 21:1-14); but for Luke, it was Jesus asking for food. Jesus did this not only to confirm to them that He is fully incarnated, and He is not a ghost. Jesus asks His disciples for food to also make them understand that He trusted them. He is willing to eat whatever they may offer Him.


His disciples have abandoned Him, betrayed Him, failed Him, and hurt Him; but after all this, Jesus still trusted them. Jesus believed in the best of their hearts by asking them for food. Jesus is inviting them to reconciliation, to rekindle their friendship, and to rebuild their communion.

Many leaders of this world often create parties and functions. They divide the people between their followers and their haters, between insiders and outsiders. This is not for us Christian leaders. As leaders who follow Christ, we are agents and models of reconciliation for our wounded and divided world. We bring our best selves to help communities trust each other again, hear each other again, love each other again, and serve each other again.


When conflicts arise, we strive to foster truth, compassion and mutual care. When some people are lost or left out, we reach out to them and bring them into communion. We evoke the best from our people, believing and hoping in the presence of the Holy Spirit within them― guiding them and helping them. We build the community, by modeling to our people the grace of truthfulness, forgiveness, kindness, and joy.


To be a Christian leader is to reconcile people.


Missioning

The third is missioning. Jesus delegated His apostles to become witnesses to the great mysteries of His passion, death, and resurrection. The Risen Lord missioned His disciples to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He invited the Apostles to participate in His mission. He did not keep the mission to Himself. Rather, He empowered the disciples to share in His mission.


Many leaders of this world would want to keep their position to themselves, so that they can keep their power, perks, and privileges to themselves. Gusto nilang sila lang ang bida, sila lang ang magaling, at sila lang ang namumuno. This is not so for us Christian leaders. As leaders who follow Christ, we are agents of mission and missioning. As we fulfill our own mission, we also invite and inspire others to become missionaries. We do not keep our people in perpetual dependency or clinginess to us. Rather, we educate them, empower them, and evoke their Spirit-given charisms.


To be a Christian leader is to mission people.


Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters: let us learn leadership from Jesus, risen from the dead. As parents, elders, students, managers, mentors, let us embody the leadership virtues of the Risen Lord: consoling, reconciling, and missioning.


May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, guide us and pray for us always. Amen.

Transcribed by Joel V. Ocampo

Photo by Margaux Salcedo

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