Saturday, September 26, 2009

Prophets

(26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B)

In the first reading today we hear the interesting account of the spirit of prophecy being given to the seventy elders of Israel. As we heard, two of these elders missed the prayer gathering, but even though they were absent the spirit of prophecy descended on them as well. As it was then, so it is now—there are always people who begrudge God for his generosity, and when Eldad and Medad are seen prophesying without having shown up for the service or whatever it was, Joshua entreats Moses to put a stop to it. So Moses, in rebuke, utters one of his greatest lines in the Sacred Scriptures: “Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” The only Christian rock act I have ever been able to abide, a wacky garage band called the Knights of the New Crusade, sometimes ends songs or sets with this cry, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!”

There is a little irony here; perhaps he doesn’t know it, but Moses is proclaiming the principal prophetic word of the passage. ‘Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” The good news for us is that in Jesus Christ, God has indeed bestowed his spirit on all of his people and made us into prophets. Recall for a moment the scene of Jesus’ baptism, and how in every version we are told of the Holy Spirit that descended upon him at that moment. Now just as God took some of the spirit that was on Moses and gave it to the seventy elders, so by our baptism into the death and Resurrection of Christ, God has taken some that Holy Spirit that descended upon Jesus and given it to each of us. The Holy Spirit is given to each baptized Christian, is nourished by our sharing in the Holy Eucharist, and sealed and strengthened in each of us in the sacrament of Confirmation.

This is a big deal. As individuals and as the universal Church of Jesus Christ, we are the fulfillment of Moses’ cry, ‘Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!’ We have been given a prophetic vocation, that is, the call to be those who speak the Truth in the world.

You only have to take a brief look at our society to see how confused and vague we have become about the Truth. In college I was taught that there was no such thing as the Truth of human life, but only ‘truths in life’ that one might find for oneself. This is the grave situation of relativism which our Holy Father Benedict has warned us about so many times. We can see the rotten fruit of a world in which is there is no right and wrong—only ‘right for me’—all around us, and this is why it is so important for us to embrace our prophetic vocation as those who are called to tell the Truth. We who are baptized are given the privilege, joy, and duty of sharing in the ministry of Christ the Prophet. Maybe we don’t always think of ourselves as prophets, but that’s what we are. And the role of a prophet is to tell the Truth.

This is a big deal, and it is important to God. Through Jesus Christ, God has placed his prophetic Spirit on us, that we ourselves might be the truth-telling presence of Christ in the world. This matters so much, that, as we heard in the gospel, if someone should interfere with one of Jesus’ little ones becoming this kind of disciple, it would be better for him to be drowned in the sea. And for ourselves, our vocation as those who have become prophets for the sake of the world is so precious that anything at all within us that keeps us from it is to be cut off and thrown away.

3 comments:

Brother said...

And the truth will set us free...I think we are scared to death of freedom. Good post and good homily.

4narnia said...

great homily, Fr. C! sorry i didn't have a chance to post my reflection this weekend- i attended the catechetical convocation yesterday. (one of the workshops i attended at the convocation was called:"googling God and how that relates to ministry - it was great and i'll share some of the info with you later. i also mentioned your blog sites to people at the convocation!) and, later today, i'll be down to SH for "Francis & Clare." PEACE! ~tara t~

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

It is so ironic that advanced minds sitting in graduate schools cannot see absolute right and wrong, truth and falsehood, but my severely retarded son can! What have we lost in our search for greater wisdom?