When we reflect on the story of Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of the radical courage He embraced during His time on Earth leading His followers to the truth about their salvation and of the hope He left His apostles to carry forward after His death.
The Battle with Sin on Earth
The beauty of Jesus’s resurrection story is that He conquered death for our salvation from our sins. He triumphed over the enemy, put evil to shame, and gave us the gift of moving us from darkness and sin to the Kingdom of light and eternal life.
We know that to do this; He suffered greatly, encountered many obstacles and challenges, and was persecuted for his teachings. These were some of the most difficult and darkest times of His life. He was betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, abandoned by his followers, mocked, beaten, and ultimately crucified and buried.
As leaders in a world where being Catholic is counter-cultural, we know we’ll also face painful challenges and obstacles that may leave us feeling defeated, betrayed, and useless. But even in the face of adversity, we must always remember that we are fighting for something greater than ourselves and that we’re never alone in our suffering.
Christ sits with us in our pain, reminding us that with every nail driven into our hearts, we’re pushed closer to Him, His cross, and the nails that pierced his flesh and bones. Cling to Him during your darkest moments and trust that He will lead you to discover the meaning of our suffering as He revealed His to us.
"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death." - Philippians 3:10
With the concept of law and truth shifting from ‘what we discover as revealed to us by God’ to ‘whatever we say it is,’ we need Catholic leadership more than ever before to illuminate the dark corners of the world with light, truth, and goodness.
As Catholic leaders, we’re called to take the stance and walk the talk. No one said it would be easy. Christ even told us taking up His path would cause division, hate, and persecution, but he also told us to stand up and be who we're called to be.
We might be ostracized, hated, and shunned for following and professing the truth, but that's only because His call is a strong demand for us to change how we interact with each other, how we love one another, how we serve others, and how we live in the world.
The Sun Will Rise Again
The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in our history and existence. When Jesus conquered death and was resurrected with new life, He brought us hope and confidence that we’re far more important than we ever dared to imagine. Jesus has no rival and how special is it that He calls us His sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters?
When Mary Magdalene went to His tomb and found it empty, she was filled with hope. Jesus had risen from the dead, just as He said He would.
As Christian leaders, our Easter message is to never lose hope, even in the darkest of times. We trust that the sun will rise again, our resilience is seen, and our strength lies in the promise of His second coming.
Not only did Jesus die for our sins, but He defeated death forever. This brings us much hope. Though our lives may be tainted with sorrow, pain, sickness and unwanted diagnoses, death, and betrayal, Jesus' death brings us hope in the midst of the messiness of life.
As leaders, we are given the responsibility and privilege that our actions have a lasting impact and that our voices can catalyze profound change. We may not be able to defeat death, but we can make a difference in the lives of those around us and bring hope to a culture plagued with anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. It's an invitation for resilience and trust that the sun will rise again.
Here are 5 ways you can practice Easter-inspired leadership without turning people off:
- Do your research, get comfortable with the narrative and the story you stand by, know the facts and truth
- Practice having a conversation with a coworker or your employer about a certain topic that you anticipate might come up in conversation
- Be consistent and dive in. It doesn't help to share or talk about something in rants and rages
- Make people feel comfortable and give them opportunities to share their view
- Share your reasons for maintaining hope even when the situation seems despairing.
Lead with Christ-like Confidence
Ask God to fill your heart, mind and soul with the virtue of courage to advance the Kingdom of God in your personal life, in the places where you work, the organizations you lead, and the charities you give back to.
Wherever you feel you have fear, anxiety, worry, or doubt, shatter it and replace it with Christ’s radical confidence and courage. Pray for the grace of leading with unshakable confidence.
"The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." -Romans 6:8-11
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