The month of September brings Final Vows for 6 seminarians, followed by their ordination to the diaconate the next day.
I can’t help but wonder what kind of Church these men will experience when they get to be my age or even what kind of world for that matter. Ditto when I ponder my little great-nieces and -nephews. For sure, it will be a world in which evil people exist (like the ISIS terrorists), in which people will try to get ahead on the backs of others, and in which there will be a lot of indifference. It will also be a world that is in need of prophets, which is certainly the focus of Sunday’s Scripture readings.
Jeremiah wanted nothing to do with his prophetic mission “You duped me!” he screams out to God. Jesus knows that he is a prophet, and that he is going to receive a prophet’s reward, namely death.
Prophecy has nothing to do with predicting the future. Instead, a prophet looks at the world in which he or she lives and basically says: “If you continue doing this or that or the other thing, then know that there will be consequences.”
Who are the prophets of our time? Well, seems to me a parent does it all the time with their children: “If you persist in this behavior, you’ll probably (fill in the blank).” Pope Francis is most definitely a prophet. Those who warn of climate change are prophets, ditto for the marchers in Ferguson, MO (the good marchers, not the ones who simply wanted to promote violence). Those who speak of the dangers inherent in economic inequality and those who exposed the pedophilia in the Church are prophetic witnesses. I can give more examples, but space is limited.
How do you know if a person or group is being prophetic? #1, they look after the common good instead of a personal or special interest agenda. #2, they are invariably on the receiving end of violent words and/or actions by those in power. It never fails.
Honor thy prophets, so you and your children may have a long life on the land!
Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!