A Call To A Prophetic Life
Readings: 1st: Ez 2, 2-5; Ps 122; 2nd: 2 Cor 12, 710; Gos Mk 6: 1-6
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this fourteenth Sunday, we rejoice in the spirit of prophecy and faithful witness to Christ. Although, the exercise of this mission does not bring us comfort, we must continue to exercise it. This is because, the grace of God is sufficient for us, and makes us strong.
As I reflected over today’s readings I recalled an encounter I had with someone sometimes ago. After admonishing her for acting wrongly, she simply turned to me and said: “Sorry Father, do you think you can change me?” Then, she walked away. However, after few months, she came to apologize and to thank me for helping her transform her life.
As ministers and prophets, we encounter such resistance, insults and discouragements every day. They are the “icings on our cake.” Yet, we here every day: “Be ready to accept more discomfort for my sake, for the gospel and, for the good of your generation!”
Like Ezekiel, we all have a prophetic call and mission from God. The question is, where is this mission and, how do we begin it? Quite simple! There is mission everywhere today. There is prophetic mission in our rebellious generation, in our families, in our communities, and in our streets, work places, schools, and in the world at large.
There is much rebellion in our time against God, against nature, against divine institutions (the church), and against the fabrics of our moral, social and cultural heritage. So, God speaks to us today as he spoke to Ezekiel in our first reading: “Son of man, I am sending you… to the rebels who have turned against me.” So, we must be that voice that cries against injustice, oppression, immorality, corruption and ungodliness.
In the second reading, Paul describes his burden for the sake of the gospel. This burden was like a thorn in his flesh. For Paul, the burden includes: “insults, hardships, persecutions, loneliness and agonies.” They were his cross as a prophet. Unfortunately, these are things we do not want to experience. This is because, we do not want any discomfort and because, we want everyone to like and, to say only good things about us.
So, even when things are going wrong under our watch and nose, we are afraid to speak out. Our attitude is that of: “Please, let the sleeping dog lie, so that I can have my peace.” I do not want to hurt anybody. I do not want to lose him or her. Unfortunately, the truth is that if you do not correct or help him or her today, tomorrow you will lose him or her forever.
God saw this same fear in Jeremiah and said to him: “Get ready Jeremiah; go and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them or I will make you even more afraid of them” (Jer 1, 17). The truth is that these are burdens we must bear as Christians if our society must be safe. We must not be afraid because the grace of God is sufficient for us. So, if we are willing, God will fill us with his grace.
In the gospel, Jesus was filled with this grace and spoke fearlessly. Of course, he got his own share of insults. They ridiculed him, called him names like: “The son of a mere carpenter.” They called him an illiterate, and a rebel. In spite of all these, he was not discouraged. Instead, he continued to preach and heal his generation.
We must not be afraid to carry out our prophetic ministries in spite of the odds against us. Rather, we are to bear them patiently so that good might triumph over evil, truth over lie, light over darkness and, peace over war. “Where there is no [prophetic] vision the people perish” (Prov 29:18). We are all called to be that visionary prophet to our ailing generation.
Peace be with you!
The theme of the three readings is that “rejection” is the norm of true discipleship. Rejection may come from your own as in the case of Jesus by his townsmen. Rejection may come from outsiders as in the case of Exekiel. The most important thing to understand is that at times and that too the prayer of the disciple may be rejected as is the case with Paul. The cry of abandonment from the cross must come to our mind. What should the disciple do, change sides? In political life, many change side, when there is no profit. Even the Apostles ventured to go back to their original profession. Thanks to Jesus, they were brought back to the fold. Please read, Habakkuk 3: 17-19. This is what is expected from a true disciple. Thank you and may God bless you.
Thanks Dr Augustine DJ for your contribution and perspective to the homily of this 14th Sunday.
Peace be with you.