Sunday, August 31, 2014

Out on the Margins

From the Hermitage

Dear Friends,

All of today's readings should bring us to consider the role of a prophet:  a spokesperson for God.  Primarily the prophets have always been charged by God to correct erroneous ways.  We have to recognize that a prophet is a man or woman of more than words.  In a world where transparency is almost as necessary as breathing, a prophet speaks as much with his or her lifestyle as with the spoken word.

To be honest with ourselves today we must recognize that the life of a genuine prophet will rarely be one that is always comfortable.  Consider the words of Jeremiah.  Here was a man who was given the gift of preaching well.  Yet, as he said, "You have duped me, Lord."  Look at the life of Jesus.  He was also a prophet for his Father, wasn't he?  In the gospel today we see he did not let his friendship with Peter prevent him from putting Peter in his place.  When Peter heard Jesus speak of his ultimate fate on earth, Peter reprimands Jesus only to be told "You are an obstacle to me."

Our Church also lives a prophet's life and she cannot conform to the present age, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, "Do not conform yourself to this age."  Sometimes our Church's teachings seem to be so out of step with society and her expectations are impossible.  This is when the lifestyle we are called to live is uncomfortable.

Evangelization is a prophetic movement taking its place in our Church today in a refined and updated manner.  For us, especially our families, evangelization is the call to recreate in our homes the "domestic church -- the place where each one in the family is actively encouraged to holiness.

Today we are indeed called to be missionaries, not necessarily to foreign lands.  We are called to stir up in our families the desire to be holy, to be prophets.  At the end of the liturgies, we are challenged to be missionaries:  "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your lives."  If this evangelization business seems confusing today, we should do what Jesus did when he may have been perplexed about what was ahead for him.  He went off to a quiet place to talk with his Father.  That is what we should do when we are confused or feeling that the Church's teachings are out of step with our contemporary world:  go off alone and pray for the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis has pointed out many times already that prophecy is a characteristic the Church should have.  It is where the Church should be today.  Likewise he always says not to forget that the Church will always be with us as we seek to live the prophet life.

Oremus pro invicem!

Fr. Milt