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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Prophetic Citizenship!

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at>>>
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 on Sat and 8:00 on Sunday

Be not just "faithful, but Prophetic!

The Scriptures for this 26th Sunday in ordinary time as well as the context of the political season brings the question of "what is God doing in our midst and who is accomplishing God's will in our presence".

The role of the prophet is not to "announce the future" but rather to "reveal God present" - literally, to "speak for or on behalf of" God. The question presented in both the first reading and the Gospel text today is the issue of "who" is presenting God's truth or wisdom. Both Moses and Jesus teach and instruct us that the "who" is not the important question. The "what" is of the essence.

Therefore, in our Catholic life we might stop looking for a prophet and begin to search for the "prophetic" within the church. That would demand that we stop considering the person and start considering the message, the truth, the movement of the Spirit of God in our midst.

Our Catholic teaching and ecclesiology does not contribute to this understanding of prophecy. We, like the followers of Moses, are convinced and taught that certain persons, office holders, consecrated people speak on behalf of God. The office of Pope, for example, has swirled for centuries about infallibility: when the pope speaks. Our notions of obedience are referred always to the office holder or the authority figure who speaks on behalf of God.

We have not been trained or instructed to expect the prophetic action of God to come through just the ordinary believer. In spite of the instruction of Jesus and Moses, we give too much credence to person rather than prophecy.

If the truth be told, even the Holy Father or pastor or superior or head of the household must not be obeyed if what they say is not in conformity to the truth of God. That demands discernment by the people of God. Do we have such discernment?

If, in fact, we have all been anointed like Jesus as priest, prophet, and King at our baptism can we not and should we not expect the prophetic action of God to be at work in each of us and in and through all of us as a communal manifestation of the Body of Christ in the world? Should not the Catholic Church as a body be prophetic for the rest of the world-revealing the truth, speaking on behalf of God?

When we hear the call of our church leaders to be engaged in the democratic process of this year's election, we should hear the invitation to be prophetic. Rather than "faithful citizenship" I am hearing the call for "prophetic citizenship"! What I mean is that for a Catholic to discern and hear and know the truth and then to cast a ballot based upon that truth is to be a Catholic prophet to the nation. A vote is the most effective voice that an American citizen has in our democratic society. To vote as a Catholic Christian based upon the principles and values taught by the Church, the call to justice, especially the defense of life, the truth of the gospel, is to speak on behalf of God, which is the definition of prophetic.

Can and will you be a prophet for God, a prophet for the truth, a prophet for life, a prophet for justice, a prophet for freedom, a prophet to the nations? Vote as a believing, living Catholic - that is prophetic. Would that all God's people would be prophets!


Joyfuralle said...

At election time time it seems many people become like Geraldo or Springer or O'Reilly or Limbaugh. They know it all. And they're going to tell it to you!

Would that all who speak Truth would do so with Love! Love the Responsorial Psalm for this week and with the topic you're preaching on...The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

It is amusing to me that many Catholics who think they are right and know the Truth and can quote the Catechism and Church teaching do so with very little love or joy or mercy. It is as if "being right" ranks over love.

Elsewhere in Scriptures it says, "Knowlege inflates with pride." That's a lot of what I see in the election years. To speak for or on behalf of God, I would think you would have to give up self & false self & ego and simply allow the Truth to be made known, simply share and allow dialog. Tough stuff.

anonymous said...

This challenge for us all to be prophets in our own time is a big one, but in itself it does speak to the Truth. I think it's human nature - at least my human nature - to wish I could simply turn to some other human being who has ALL the answers. That would make life so easy. But this is one of those tricky understandings of the "freedom" God has given us. Made in the image of God, I am called to discern the truth, free of others dominion, and then live faithfully according to that truth.

Like JoyF above, as I read the Matador's reflection, I too heard additional Scripture in my mind such as, "if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Cor 13:2); and "for we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away" (1 Cor 13:9-10). These verses came to mind because, more than being concerned with who is the right candidate in an election year, I am more astounded with the over-zealous righteousness of some, to the point of being un-loving - and all because someone isn’t agreeing with their choice about who they believe the “right guy to be for the job.” No election year - no candidate - is worth that; worth abandoning the ultimate Truth.

My prayer over these next weeks will be that I/we go a little deeper in understanding our individual call - and communal call as Catholics - to be prophets in our own time; but over all of these, to put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (1 Col 3:14).

The Matador said...

Wow. The matador

anon said...

Although I do not consider myself to be a very confident or aggressive person, I have to say that I have been accused of it during election cycles. Love and Truth compels Christians to do everything within our power for the weakest and poorest among us. The Democrat platform specifically calls for abortion, which is murder of God's innocents. I do not understand why the people of Christ are so angry with a position that abhors this evil purpose.

In Nazi Germany, there were Catholics who went to the concentration camps to die because they spoke in defense of the innocent. In Nazi Germany, there were Catholics who stayed silent and lived. There were also Catholics who stayed silent and died anyway because they lived under an evil dictatorship. I wonder what future generations will say about the Catholics of this election cycle... that we were blinded, ignorant, or selfish enough to let the babies continue to die?

Some might call me over-zealous. But I am afflicted by love of the babies and mothers and families who are destroyed by the crime of abortion. And if people want to call me names (which I often deserve), it is to be expected because it is what Christ has called us to as His followers. Love requires me (and you) to stand up and speak on behalf of the unborn children, even if it makes me look bad... or makes someone "feel" badly. I will say it as gently as it can to be heard... and then louder if necessary. Father challenges us to be prophetic. Do we remember what happened to God's prophets? I don't believe they were considered "unifying" by any stretch.

Let's be generous and gentle with each other. And instead of attacking a person's personality weaknesses, make an effort to hear what they are saying to us. If we believe that God calls each of us, then we will be open to the possibility that He does indeed speak to us through the other, in spite of our personality weaknesses. Father writes about being a prophet for truth and living out our Catholic identity... and the commenters immediately bring up the problems they have with difficult people they know. It seems to me that the point was missed somewhat.

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