Jesus cures a man of leprosy in today’s gospel, freeing him from this illness, allowing him to be part of the community of faith once again. Leprosy severed the individual from all human contact and community, except with other lepers. What a horrible, lonely existence it must have been for these individuals, totally cut off and excluded.
What is interesting is Jesus’ response to the man’s joy:”Don't tell anyone but the Temple priest.” Jesus shied away from being worshipped and adored. Even when the word got out, how could it not, He withdrew to a deserted place to pray. Jesus did not want the focus to be on Him or His power, He only wanted to empower others by freeing them from whatever binds their bodies or spirits.
Jesus received His mission and power from the Other, the Father, who sent the Son to serve and not be served. Great leaders do not see power as something they possess to wield over others, to dominate and control. True leaders have a vision in which all people have a place in making the vision a reality. This form of power creates community in which the leader does not suck all the oxygen, compelling people to become dependent servants.
Jesus, the ultimate leader, breathed the oxygen of the Spirit upon the people, freeing them, so that they could breath their own breath. Great leaders are empowering... not powerFUL!!