God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has freed you from sin, given you new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people… As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.
These words were said at your baptism when the priest anointed you with the Chrism of Salvation. As priests, we are to become the holiness and wisdom of Christ. As kings, we are to be the strength and mercy of Christ. As prophets, we are to be the passion and voice of Christ. Being a prophet means speaking out in word and deed against injustices, against what is sinful or leading others away from God. It’s calling out what’s wrong and building up what’s right.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… a prophet to the nations I appointed you. Jer 1:5
In the first reading today, Jeremiah is being called by God to be a prophet to Israel, who had become unfaithful to the covenant by worshipping idols and the god Baal. Jeremiah was a young man at the time, and like most prophets resisted accepting the job, knowing how difficult and dangerous it could be. How often do we not say what we know we should because we are afraid of how we will be perceived, or to avoid conflict? Being a prophet definitely requires courage; in the reading it is compared to going into battle. God gives Jeremiah a “pep talk,” promising Jeremiah will be given the words to say. Like Jeremiah, God has known us and loved us from before we were formed in the womb, and will always be with us to strengthen us when it gets hard.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
1 Cor 13:2
Speaking with righteousness does not mean becoming self-righteous. And it does not mean we should be obnoxious or rude or pompous. Some occasions are so serious they call for marching in protest or carrying signs. But most often, prophecy happens around the dinner table, while watching the news, in the coffee shop, or in the hallways of the high school. Whatever the situation, God’s messages should be delivered with love, compassion, and sensitivity. Let us pray for the courage to be the passion and voice of Christ every day.
Mollie Muntefering, Coordinator of Liturgy