Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 21, a companion piece to Psalm 20. In these verses, the king asks for victory, receives it, and rejoices in domination over his enemies. The psalm follows our first reading from Judges which is a parable that criticizes Abimelech’s seizure of kingship over Israel by treacherous means.


Without getting too deep into the complex exegesis of these passages, suffice it to say that they invite us to consider the nature of leadership – its source, exercise, and meaning relative to our spiritual and moral life.

St. Augustine, in his commentary on the Psalms, teaches that Psalm 21 foretells the kingship of Jesus. This kingship (as opposed to that of Abimelech) is marked by humility, mercy, and obedience to the Creator.


We see a wide and confusing range of “leadership” in our world today, from figures like Pope Francis to Kim Jong-Un. But in our prayer today, we are given a very clear picture of what true leadership looks like.

A perfect leader is to God like the moon is to the sun. The leader only reflects the True Light given to them as a gift. 

Recognizing fruitful leadership as a gift, they dispense it graciously to others as in our Gospel parable, imparting mercy even to those considered last in line for it.

In various circumstances, we can be either leader and follower. How do we invite Grace to inform us in either case?


Poetry-Prayer: A Leader’s Prayer – from xavier.edu

Leadership is hard to define. 
Lord, let us be the ones to define it with justice. 
   Leadership is like a handful of water. 
   Lord, let us be the people to share it with those who thirst.
Leadership is not about watching and correcting. 
Lord, let us remember it is about listening and connecting. 
   Leadership is not about telling people what to do. 
   Lord, let us find out what people want.
Leadership is less about the love of power,
and more about the power of love.
   Lord, as we continue to undertake the role of leader let us be 
   affirmed by the servant leadership we witness in your son Jesus.
Let us walk in the path He has set and let those who will, follow.
Let our greatest passion be compassion. 
   Our greatest strength love. 
   Our greatest victory the reward of peace.
In leading let us never fail to follow. 
In loving let us never fail.

Music: Lead Me Lord -Samuel S. Wesley

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