In today’s gospel Jesus speaks of prophets – but … what are prophets?
In our Christian tradition prophets are understood to be people who speak and teach the Word of God.
Prophets come in many shapes and sizes, and they speak about many different ideas, but … the one thing they have in common (according to Jesus) is that their truth is quickly rejected by those who have a stake in maintaining power and the status quo.
Prophets challenge the prevailing authority structure by speaking and teaching God’s truth – rather than blindly accepting the human truths of power and wealth.
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus was seen as living and ministering in the prophetic tradition, but that meant that he was also perceived as a threat to the religious authorities and their control of the ordinary person’s relationship with God.
Jesus questioned the integrity of those in power – the hierarchical system that centralized authority and wealth in the hands of a select few – thus rendering the common citizen powerless.
We are all called to be prophets, but Jesus doesn’t make it sound like much of a calling, does he?
But … what if being prophetic was simpler than we might be thinking?
What if being a prophet was not something God left to those with the loudest voices, the pushiest personalities and the thickest of skins?
What if God is calling each of us to be prophetic – but in our own unique way – in a way that makes the very best use of the talents and gifts he has bestowed upon us?
Prophets are people who teach about the Word of God.
This sort of teaching is not about academic qualifications and classrooms.
This sort of teaching happens everywhere – and most often in, what you might call, the classroom of life.
A prophetic life simply has to be grounded in the truth of God.
The Church is journeying through the season of Lent – we are on a journey which invites us to live our lives in a different way.
Lent is often associated with fasting – with denying ourselves of something we like.
But that is not the whole story! During Lent we are being invited to live in a way that prepares us for the joy of Easter – and beyond!
During Lent we are being invited to begin living in a truly prophetic way – in a way that honours our faith in Christ.
Lent offers us the opportunity to develop our own ability to encourage others to recognize the presence of God in every aspect of the human existence – thus using our own prophetic voices.
Small shifts in behaviour; small tweaks in our habits and routines can create big ripples in our lives, and in the lives of others.
Let me ask you a question – If you were stopped in the street and asked not just if you believe in God, but why – what would you say?
For many that is quite a challenging question!
Choosing the prophetic life is not to choose the ‘easy’ option.
So many of those with whom we interact on a regular basis have no real awareness of our spiritual lives – because we keep it secret – we keep it private!!!
But … this troubled and divided world needs prophets – and God has sent us (you and me) to fulfil that role. We are all called to bear witness to the radical truth of Christ – a truth that is prophetic, and vital, and threatening, and hopeful – just as it was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
We do all have prophetic voices – but … do we have the courage to use those voices?
Do we have the courage to be generous, positive, loving and humble in the name of God?
Do we have the courage to make our God-given prophetic voices heard?
No act of love is too small;
no witness of hope is too small.
We have all be given unique gifts from God – gifts to share with the world.
Are we going to squander your gift of prophecy, or are we going to respond to Christ’s call to love and serve in his name?
Jesus’ message is clear – each of us has a prophetic voice, and the world is ready to listen.
May we use those voices to the glory of God this Lent, and beyond!