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Father Muench Says...

We are all called - to be God's prophets

Aug. 28, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Recently, in conversation with a priest friend concerning that Sunday’s Scriptures, he brought up the idea of being a “prophet.”  The more I have thought about it the idea of a “prophet” fits in so well with this year’s celebration of the Year of Faith.  Evangelization is about being a prophet.  A prophet is someone who shows the way – someone who points out the implications of present actions.

A prophet in faith accepts a real challenge – walking in the footsteps of Jesus can be hard work and costly.  Bringing the message of Jesus to this present work is often a difficult challenge.

Many, even many good people, are not open to listening to the message of the Church.  Many do not understand. Many do not want to understand. Many will not accept.  Jesus was often disappointed that those he taught would not believe in him or accept his message.

Prophets are about truth.  The message of Jesus is truth.  With the grace and help of the Savior, evangelizers have the truth.  This is God’s gift to us all  and we must have the courage to bring that message to others – as true prophets of the Lord.

However, courage is needed for the truth can divide families, friendships, communities.  Many want to hide the truth – they would rather live the lie.

Parents must be prophets and must be the most important of evangelizers.  The challenge is huge – yet, the truth is so important for their children.  However, there is always the risk in making recommendations or corrections to a child – even, more for a teenager.  Will this task of being a prophet as a father or mother cause a division in the family?

The challenge can be too much for some parents and so they ignore the moment, ignore the opportunity and say nothing. Too often, they watch their child’s life get more and more messed up.  I believe that with God’s help, the divisions, caused in such necessary corrections, can and will be healed.  Such is the challenge of being a prophet – of being a parent.

I regretfully have recognized times in my own life when I was afraid to be a prophet.  I remember an incident – ages ago – I was part of a group of priests talking about many things. Then they began talking about another – a priest with a problem – he was an alcoholic.  So talked about how sad it was. Yet, I remember well, not one of us was ready to talk with him - ready to take the risk to meet with him and offer to help.  The excuses were many – don’t want to “embarrass” him -  don’t want to “lose” his friendship – not ready to be a “prophet”.

Jesus calls us all to be a prophet, yet being a prophet is a challenge so he is ready to stand with us, to strengthen us, to show us the way and give us the words to make us real prophets. 

Our Church must have prophets – and everyone is called – truly, everyone is called to be such prophets.
Prophets are many. We do notice them, we read about them, our society is filled with them. Each parish has many prophets. We sit with them each Sunday and now we must join them. 

Soon our Church will canonize two of the outstanding prophets of our own time – Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.  They both spoke bravely and often,  leading and showing the way for our Church.  They were not afraid to meet the challenge.

And so we now pray to soon to be Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II that they will fill our Church will prophets – outstanding prophets – and ordinary prophets that will truly transform our Church – making it alive – filled with grace and enthusiasm and hope.       

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