Ferdinand was five years old. He loved to watch grandma clean up and wash the dishes each evening. Grandma would smile…something sing Chinese opera…and even do a little dance. One day, Ferdinand asked: “Grandma, can I help you. It looks like so much fun.” Grandma showed him how to dry the dishes and told him to careful with her precious dishes. After supper each evening Ferdinand and grandma had a jolly time. But one day after three months. Ferdinand dropped one of the plates. He was about to cry. But grandma smiled, clapped her hands and said: “Isn’t that wonderful! You have wiped the dishes every evening for the past three months without breaking one dish. That is a record. Let’s celebrate.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he continued to be with his apostles just as he is with us this morning. But the apostles like us had to believe in his presence and it wasn’t like those occasions when Jesus appeared to them so that they could see, touch and talk with Jesus like old times.
Jesus gave his followers the task of carrying out his mission but he gave no detailed plan, no daily briefings, no road-map... He entrusted the task of leadership to all of his followers.
After Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and the apostles were at a loss. They were happy that Jesus had Risen. But what were they to do with their time? How were they to carry out their mission?
Peter didn’t sit back in his rocking chair watching TV waiting for orders. No, he decided to go off by himself fishing. He informed the other apostles. And they said: “Can we go with you?”
Our theme today is senior Christian leadership. In this simple exchange, we see an excellent example of leadership. The definition of a leader is: a person who has one or more followers.
Peter’s decision and the announcement of his intention influenced the other disciples to follow him to meet the Risen Lord. Peter was the leader. The disciples were the followers.
There are many approaches to being a leader. But we elderly folks in St. Patrick’s community, especially like Peter’s approach. The other apostles were sitting around watching their toenails grow. Peter didn’t have a long-range plan. He made a decision to do something—go fishing. He announced his intention. And the other disciples asked to join him. On this fishing trip Peter and the disciples met the Risen Lord.
This morning’s gospel reminds us seniors of our gifts to influence others and create a better world for our children and grandchildren. It often means showing our grandchildren that it is great to be a humanoid. When they see grandma joining a literacy class that is feeding the sheep with a love of learning. When they see grandpa gather with a small group to address a justice issue in Hong Kong or in some part of the world, that is feeding the sheep with love of justice.
Ferdinand’s grandma showed by her example that washing dishes could be fun. She “let him” help her. And even when he broke a dish, she didn’t knock his teeth out. Instead she complimented him on his three-month perfect record. Ferdinand’s grandmother gives us, like Peter, a beautiful example of gentle senior leadership. St. Patrick’s community needs every senior to be a leader.
FINALE: Raise your hand, if you wish to follow those who don’t know where they are going.
Raise your hand, if you wish to be a leader and lead the sheep to nourishing pastures and tasty greens.
Will those seniors (and anyone else) who wish to be leaders please stand up and proclaim your beliefs in the Creed.
4/24/04 Third Sunday of Easter John 21: 1-19
TOPIC SENTENCE: The elderly have a mission to lead.
DESIRED RESULT: As a result of our gospel reflection last week, I realized that I had a call to lead. Like Peter, I decided to join the democracy march. I mentioned my decision to a couple of friends and they said: “We will join you.”
I’LL BE HAPPY IF AT LEAST THEY REMEMBER
1. What was our theme today? Leadership.
2. Who are especially qualified to be leaders? The elderly
3. What advantages do the elderly have? Experience, time, can’t be fired. Respect.
4/24/04 Third Sunday of Easter John 21: 1-19
A. ___________ B. __________ C. ____________ D. ___________
Hint: Feed the sheep
Seniors often have more time, freedom, wisdom and to reflect. They have experiences of political and media duplicity.
Seniors don’t have to toady to higher-ups in order to maintain their employment. Seniors often have time to spend with
grandchildren who find them less threatening than parents. Seniors are more likely to
recognize bull leavings despite the perfume and elaborate packaging.
Determined a course of action
Informed the others
The apostles respected Peter’s decision
The apostles decided to join Peter.