Jeremiah 26: 1-9
Psalm 69: 8-10, 14
John 11: 19-27
Prophets are mostly misunderstood or ignored. The first mistake we might make about prophets is to think they are like fortune tellers- predicting the future. Prophets address the present times – they see signs and they call out what they see. That’s another reason why they can be misunderstood. What they say about what they see can sound uncomfortable.
There is little need to speak unless your message addresses what is wrong or what could be better. This is what prophets do, and if what they say is challenging, their words are likely to be uncomfortable. Jesus warned that prophets are never accepted in their own country, in their own town and even in their own house!
Is it possible those closest to us see something that needs to said and say it, but we don’t listen because it might demand us to change? Those who speak prophetically are in the minority because they face rejection or ridicule. In today’s first reading, Jeremiah was incredibly courageous in announcing his warning. He even challenged those listening to kill him – but warned “that won’t change the truth of what I say”
This willingness to speak the truth boldly is what cost John the Baptiser, his life. Herod in contrast we are told, ‘feared the people’ and he was distressed because ‘his guests were aware of the oath he had made’. Rather than lose face, he took a man’s life! What a contrast Herod was to John the Baptist and to Jeremiah!
Which of these three people are you most like?
Are you willing to be a Christian prophet if the circumstances call for it?
Brian Traynor CP has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.