The theme this week is Prophets & Prophecy. We found in the readings chosen for the Eucharist a definite emphasis on this. The Old Testament reading is from Ezekiel (2.2-5.) & records his unambiguous calling by God to be a prophet to the Israelites. The chosen verses the New Testament (2. Cor. 12.7-10.) show us Paul feeling very unequal to his prophetic task & includes that familiar sentence, ‘When I am weak then I am strong’. Surely all of us trying to be prophets in our world must experience a sense of weakness, even failure. And then the Gospel (Mark 6.1-6.) & we find Jesus failing to cut it with the people of his own synagogue – ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country among his relations, & in his own house’.
We have included here some reflections on this theme – words of Pope Francis & some of Joan Chittister, a now elderly American Benedictine nun & surely a prophet of our time. There is also a prayer, ‘A Hard Deep Call to Obedience’ – obedience to God’s call to be a prophet in our world today.
The blessing is ‘Deep Peace’ – a Gaelic blessing sung by Libera.
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Moon & stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you,
Deep peace of Christ to you.
With our love
Pope Francis on Prophets.
“A true prophet is a person who is capable of weeping for their people but at the same time of saying strong things in a direct way”.
Pope Francis described a true prophet as someone who is also capable of giving hope: “Opening the doors of hearts, healing roots, reinforcing the sense of belonging to the people of God in order to go forward.
“A prophet knows when to scold but knows also how to throw open the doors to hope. A true prophet puts themselves on the line”, he said.
Pope Francis tells us that our world needs prophets – ordinary people like you & me living in a prophetic way. It needs each of us to be prophets, rather than just critics… The person who just criticizes and is never happy with anything is not a prophet: a prophet is the person who prays, looks to God, looks at the people and when the people err, they weep.
“May prophets never be lacking in our world’’, Francis concluded, ‘’in order to be able to always go forward”.
Joan Chittister: Two reflections on Prophets.
Everywhere there are people who, despite finding themselves mired in periods of national darkness or personal marginalisation, refuse to give up the thought of a better future or give in to the allurements of a deteriorating present. They never lose hope that the values they learned in the best of times, or the courage it takes to reclaim their world from the worst of times, are worth the commitment of their lives. These people, the best of ourselves, are legion & they are everywhere.
It is the unwavering strength, the open hearts, & the piercing courage from people of every level of every society that carries us through every major social breakdown to the emergence again of the humanisation of humanity. In every region, everywhere, they are the unsung but mighty voices of community, high mindedness, & deep resolve. They are the prophets of each era who prod the rest of the world into seeing newly what it means to be fully alive, personally, nationally, globally & spiritually.
They are the average but courageous people who forever seek the truth, defend the weak, bring the peace, & always, always, always, stand up to protest injustice – it can be you.
What does a prophet do? A prophet cries out, cries out, cries out. Without fear. Without care for cost. Without end.
Dear Prophet, for the sake of the children, for the sake of the world, for the sake of the gospel, CRY OUT!
A Hard, Deep Call to Obedience
a prayer by Walter Brueggemann
You are the God who makes extravagant promises.
We relish your great promises
and we exude in them.
Only to find out, always too late,
that your promise always comes
in the midst of a hard, deep call to obedience.
You are the God who calls people like us,
and the long list of mothers and fathers before us,
who trusted the promise enough to keep the call.
So we give thanks that you are a calling God,
who calls always to dangerous new places.
We pray enough of your grace and mercy among us
that we may be among those
who believe your promise enough
to respond to your call.
We pray in the one who embodied your promise
and enacted your call, even Jesus. Amen.