By Emily Cavins
…and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove,
and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” ~ Luke 3:22
In our modern world, we are encouraged as women to be leaders—to go out there and take the bull by the horns and make a mark. Some women have gone to great heights in leadership in business, politics, sports, and service. The opportunities for leadership are ever-broadening. A term sometimes used to define such a woman is “badass.” It’s good to be a leader, but do we have to be “badass” to do it?
When we hear the readings today, a different image comes to mind when Jesus is introduced as a leader. Isaiah equates Him to a shepherd who cares for his flock and carries his sheep in his bosom. Isaiah also reminds us of God’s comfort to Jerusalem. He leads his flock with tenderness and great care. Though that seems more like the traditional way to view women’s behavior, caring and nurturing, we see it’s God’s type of leadership as well.
At the Jordan River, we see Jesus being baptized by John with the sign of God’s favor resting on him in the form of a dove. The location of the site of Jesus’ baptism is just a few miles north of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. There, Jesus humbly subjected himself to John’s baptism just as he had humbly subjected himself to become one of us through the Incarnation. Both of these occurrences are momentous events, and yet, they are displays of Christ’s humility. He doesn’t try to prove anything. He just does what is right and good, and God is pleased.
John exalts Jesus and calls him mighty and declares that Jesus will baptize with fire, but Jesus goes on to perform great miracles in a humble manner. He tells people not to talk about it. He doesn’t shout, “Look what I can do!” All of his actions are done to please His Father and to point to the goodness of God. That attitude is all we need to be leaders as well. Maybe we won’t be noticed in the sense of being “badass,” but the results will bear more fruit. Think of humility like a fertilizer. You don’t see it working until the fruit or flowers appear.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t kicked butt recently. Take heart in the actions you have taken to love and serve others. Be proud (in a humble way) for the kindness and tenderness you have shown. That is the path of Jesus. There is no better reward than to hear God say, “You are my beloved.” That is the desire of every heart.
As Jesus stepped out from this point of his baptism into his ministry, he did so with the certainty of God’s acceptance. With that certitude, he didn’t have to prove to Satan that he was God during the temptations that followed. He didn’t have to prove to the disciples that he was boss. He didn’t have to prove to the Pharisees or Pontius Pilate that he was God himself.
We also don’t need to prove that we are worthy of leadership. We can lead in our families, our business, and our society with the same humility and surety that Jesus had because we have the same Father in Heaven who loves each one of us. Our identity comes from the Father with the sign of the Holy Spirit that you received at Confirmation. You got it, girl!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Call to Action
Next time you feel pressured to prove yourself, check to see if you are leading in the humble way of Jesus and Mary or if you are imitating the way the world goes at it with the desire for attention and validation. If you have failed to act with humility, resubmit yourself to God and give it another try.
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