The Lord Chooses Leaders for a Purpose – Catholic Members of Parliament Reminded
Elections from the Biblical perspective
On 16th May 2018, Fr. Henry Chinkanda, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi celebrated holy Mass at Parliament Buildings during which the Catholic Members of Parliament were reminded that it is the Lord who chooses leaders for his people when they are legitimately and licitly elected into power. “We are now into the year of preparations for the forthcoming General Elections in May 2019. Could we borrow a leaf from the Biblical way and rationale of voting people into power?” rhetorically asked Fr. Chinkanda. Based on Acts 1: 15, 23 – 26 which was the first reading during the occasion, he invited the honorable members to seriously consider some lessons that can be learnt from the text which describes how Matthias was voted to be one of the Apostles in place of Judas Iscariot.
The biblical text records that there were 120 delegates to the convention that voted Matthias into power meaning that leaders have to be elected by the people in an open and transparent manner and not secretly or self imposed. He observed that the voting was done by casting lots as a way to keep feelings and prejudices from influencing this important decision. Above all, this practice was a way to put the outcome of the choice in God’s hands because as believers, God’s will was more important than life itself – thus, it had to be God’s will for anybody to assume a leadership position in life.
Citing the Gospel reading that read, “You did not choose me, no, I chose you and commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last” John 15: 16, Fr. Chinkanda reiterated that every leader should be elected into office for a purpose, namely to bear fruit that will bring forth joy to the people. It is pathetic that the majority of people in this country are languishing in misery and poverty as the Bishops lamented in their 25th April 2018 Pastoral Letter. So, whoever wants to contest in 2019, should always bear in mind that he or she has a mission to accomplish: and that is ‘to bear fruits that should bring joy’ to Malawians particularly the marginalized. He further outlined the necessary qualities aspiring leaders should have according to the same Bishops’ Pastoral Letter issued on 25th April 2018.
Finally, he noted that the 120 delegates to the convention that ushered Matthias into authority in the Acts of the Apostles ‘prayed’ to God to show them whom He had chosen as an Apostle. It is equally important for us that we too should pray to God to give us good leaders during the forthcoming General Elections in May, 2019. In praying, we shall be able to discern what God’s will is for us as aspiring leaders and as well as for us the electorate, concluded Fr. Chinkanda.