If true to their nature, a prophet will get under people’s skin. Both Jeremiah and Jesus in today’s readings attest to that fact. We are more likely to uphold prophets and their challenging message long after they are gone. But right when and where they hit us in the gut, our natural instinct is to resist and reject who they are and what they have to say, all because they remind us quite pointedly who we should be and glaringly who we are not. A prophet who is well liked and respected is likely doing it wrong.
Our task is to listen with open hearts and minds. If a prophet cannot but speak what God commands him to speak, it isn’t really a choice. Jeremiah said once, among his many laments to God for all the trouble he had to face doing God’s work, that if he did not speak God’s message as God commands, it would cause him great pain that would eat him alive. He had to get that message out. So true prophets don’t really enjoy the job. It is most inconvenient and unnerving and thankless and unprofitable. Who in their right mind would want to be one?
But God sends us prophets all the time. It is God’s way of waking us up to his wisdom and will, sometimes disturbing, sometimes humbling, and which often runs smack into our own exalted sense of self and success. If we are open to listen to his message, God is often gentler and inviting. When we are childish and defiant, God can be more forceful. And God is not impressed in the least when we throw a tantrum. Imagine how God would hold us to account for rejecting someone he sends to call us to repentance and reform. And God will get the last word while his prophets stand alongside him with that “I told you so” look. Be humbled now or be humbled later. Up against God’s wisdom and will we will never measure up. Choose wisely, grasshopper.
This mass was offered for the repose of +John Freeman.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020