Memorial of Saint Philip Neri
It is said of Saint Philip Neri that he was a very gregarious man of great humor and gentleness and known for bringing out the best in others. Apparently, he was great at engaging strangers on the streets in conversation and preferred to call those who gathered around him to a life of prayer and service out of the relationships he built with them. As a religious leader with a warm personality and sense of humor, he preferred challenging kings and bishops with gentleness and friendship rather than criticism and harshness – a true model of an engaging evangelist and servant leader.
Today’s Gospel tells of that very familiar conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter whereby Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Recall Peter’s three “denials” in the courtyard (John 17, 25-27). We also hear of Jesus’ request of Peter that he take care of his followers, a call to humble service as the leader (first Pope) of the early Christian community. This passage is often referred to as the “rehabilitation of Peter.”
So today, we have two leaders and evangelizers to bring to our prayer and reflection: brash, outspoken, and direct Saint Peter and gentle, humorous, and friendly Saint Philip Neri.
Situational leadership suggests that the given moment and circumstances often call for different approaches: sometimes direct (tough love), sometimes gentle; sometimes decisive, sometimes consultative; sometimes going it alone, and sometimes delegating widely. Always though, in deep humility, no matter our role or status (hearken back to the Holy Thursday story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet).
So whatever role you find yourself in – parent, favorite auntie, committee or ministry chair, boss, supervisor, grandparent, citizen, etc. – there is plenty here to contemplate. Read the Gospel and Google Saint Peter Neri.
Let Us Pray:
Let us express our gratitude for all the opportunities to serve others, for the gifts we have been granted to make a difference where we can, for the chances to do some special things, and to share the Good News of the Gospel. Lord, give us the wisdom, courage, and character to make the right decisions that fit the situation and circumstances. Amen.