It’s easy to blame leaders, and we do it all the time. The parade of world leaders speaking at the UN last week offers some easy targets. And we getting ready to elect a new leader here too.
St. Augustine, in a sermon on the Good Shepherd, calls church leaders to be like Jesus and warns them not to lead the sheep astray. When they are like Jesus they are “in the one Shepherd, and in that sense they are not many but one. When they feed the sheep it is Christ who is doing the feeding.”
And so we must pray for good leaders for our church and also for our country. “May it never happen that we truly lack good shepherds! May it never happen to us! May God’s loving kindness never fail to provide them!”
But Augustine goes further and says we must do more than pray, we ourselves must be “good sheep,” because “if there are good sheep then it follows that there are good shepherds, since a good sheep will naturally make a good shepherd.”
Does that mean we get the leaders we deserve? In blaming them, are we also blaming ourselves? Add to a prayer for good shepherds, a prayer for good sheep.