by Barbara Cooper
It's so easy to dismiss someone. I do it often with no effort at
all! Maybe it's because we want our prophets, leaders, heroes,
friends and family to be perfect according to our own prejudices.
Then we find out they are just like us ... human.
How much we can miss of God's voice speaking to us! We ask contemptuously: "Who does she think she is?" or " What does he know, he's just from the neighbourhood?" And because our hearts are closed, we can't hear, so we dismiss the message along with the speaker.
But there are prophets among us. They call us back to a way of living in, with, and for God. Like Ezekiel, they are sent to us who are "obstinate and stubborn" (otherwise we wouldn't need a prophet!).
The discerning question for us is not one of contempt, but is found in our reading of the Gospel. Is what this person says loving, truthful, building up the community? Does s/he call on us to do the same? Does the "prophet" appeal to our selfish interests and basest instincts, or to what is true and noble and caring in our hearts?
There is another side to this story in our life. What if ...
We are the ones called to be prophets?
Like Jeremiah we might cry: "No! No! No!" But the reality remains. We are the ones God sends with no other fanfare than our Baptism. We are set right in the middle of a community, with all our warts and wounds and immaturity.
Can you hear God saying: "I send you!"?
- to bring Good News to the poor
- to break open prison doors
- to heal and bless, to confront and challenge
- to proclaim God's Kingdom is among us.
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