for leaders of simplicity, commitment to service, and little desire for celebrity. We’ve grown tired of the self-aggrandizing, the elites, those who feel ruling is their privilege, and their extravagant lifestyles. Where is the true servant of the public, the executive who sees beyond their office and the lifestyles of those like them? Where is the person in charge who realizes the welfare of those “below” them is intimately intertwined with their own? Where is the powerful one who understands their power is only a moment in time and thus a trust to be managed and not a possession to be exploited? In these times such human beings are hard to find.
Thus the surprise, joy, and even disbelief in a person like Pope Francis. His approach, although it is as old as Christianity itself, appears new. His disregard for meaningless pomp and circumstance, for all the “perks” of the office, seems like a breath of fresh air. To a world, and even a Christian community, jaded by the current understanding of power and leadership he appears as a refreshing anomaly, a person whose ideals and life actually match.
Could it be a ploy? Perhaps. We’ve seen it before, people who are too good to be true because they work hard at it. Yet leaders of all kinds should take notice. The hunger of the common people for such a leader is deep, profound, and a cause for celebration among the masses even when just a sliver of it becomes apparent. There is a great fatigue with private jets, gated neighborhoods, exclusive gatherings, and unnecessary perks among the people who make the lifestyles of the rich and famous possible. The great of this world need to step out of their world, grab a towel, and start washing some feet and not just the feet of their peers. The powerful of this world need to realize anew there’s a difference between respect and compliance and that people have already turned off their speeches in favor of watching their lives. The powerful of the world, indeed all of us, need to learn from this Pope, and more important the Jesus he is trying to emulate. Those who do will not simply be recalled in history but be memorable.