Prophets In A Prophetic Church

07-07-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, VC

“Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD! And whether they heed or resist, for they are a rebellious house, they shall know that a prophet has been among them” (Ez 2:4-5). This closing statement in the first reading today captures the central message that runs through our scripture readings today, which is the challenges of our roles as prophets belonging to a prophetic Church.

The Gospel reading today gives an account of people in Jesus’s hometown of Nazareth who met Jesus but missed the opportunity to receive blessings from Him. They knew Him growing up in a poor family and so were unable to see beyond the human side of Jesus. They ridiculed Him and not even the miracles He worked could convince them that He is God. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith to the extent that He could do little for them and said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

Have you ever had an experience close to this, where people respect you very well in your place of work, among your friends and in public but your own family disrespects you and cannot see anything special about you? What about those of us who are in different ministries, do our family members and friends sometimes call us hypocrites, make fun of our Catholic faith and remind us of our weaknesses? We often hear our family members or friends say, “I don’t go to church because there are so many hypocrites there.” If people confront you this way, tell them we always have room for one more hypocrite in the Church. If you have not had any of these experiences, as you go home today, try and invite all your family members to an evening prayer and try to preach to them or try to preach to your friends and see what happens.

At our baptism, we were anointed as priest, prophet, and king. The scripture readings today invite us to reflect on our roles as prophets, belonging to a prophetic Church. As prophets we are sent to preach the Good News of Christ and to speak the truth without fear. A prophet must expect resistance, and this resistance can sometimes turn to rejection by close friends. In the first reading today, we heard how Ezekiel was warned by God that people will resist his message to them. However, God told him to go ahead and relate his message to them and that whether they accept his message or not, they will know that they have a prophet living among them.

As Catholics, we also belong to a Prophetic Church. The prophetic role of the church is not just to point out people’s sins to them, but also to offer them the mercy of God. This is why we are the Church that not only speaks the truth courageously all the time but also the only Church that offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mercy of God.

Remain Blessed,

Fr. James