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Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it—not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
This reading from Peter’s first letter oozes with a spirit of humble service. Rather than emphasize his standing as the one singled out by Christ and given the “keys of the kingdom,” or even as one of the original Apostles, Peter numbers himself among the “presbyters” or “elders.” Their shepherding, Peter insists, must be seen as service to the Chief Shepherd: Christ.
How desperately our world needs to see Christian leaders known most of all for the resemblance between their service and the humble Christ they profess to serve. What if my words and actions are the closest that those around me will get to seeing the Chief Shepherd today? Am I doing a good job helping others see him?
—Mark McNeil is the assistant principal for formation at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, Texas.
Look into the eyes of the crucified Christ and ask him: What have I done for you? What am I doing for you? What ought I do for you?
—Modified from the Spiritual Exercises (paragraph 53).