THE TRUE PROPHETS GOD SENDS TO US
Across the roads and streets of Freetown, there are many sign boards where people are invited to join “born again churches”. On what seems like adverts…one can read: “Come…It’s your time for wonders and miracles through Prophet A or X…”! And there are many prophets around…calling for healing, blessings and prosperity.
The readings of this coming Sunday help us to understand who is a prophet and what his mission is. From the experience of prophet Ezekiel (1st reading), we know that a prophet is a person called and sent by God. Prophets are people who are obedient. They have no project for themselves. They answer a call. They fulfill what God has asked them to do. Ezekiel is called to preach conversion to the stubborn people of Israel, those who have turned against the Lord (Ez 2: 3). He is not there to please his brothers and sisters. He denounces their evil ways.
Don’t we need another prophet Ezekiel today to denounce our unfaithfulness to God’s commandments? I believe such a prophet is more helpful than those promising miracles and wonders! Because, as long as we worship the True God and obey his law, we are sure that we are walking on the right path which leads to true life. Then God, our Good Shepherd (Ps 22) will bless us abundantly.
The true prophet does not only denounce. He also renounces. He renounces to everything in his life that is contrary to God’s will, such as pride, selfishness, greedy…Here Saint Paul is a good example given to us (2nd reading). Though a great man of God, he never forgot his own weaknesses and the need to get way of them. He struggled himself to live out what he was preaching. That’s why he calls on God’s grace and support. Therefore, commitment to holiness is a clear sign of a true prophet of God.
Another mission of a true prophet of God is to announce. He announces the Good news. A true prophet is there to show God’s presence in our lives. He is not there to list all what is wrong. He indicates the goodness happening in the midst of the people of God. We need many prophets today to announce good news. In this, they can help us to shake the view spread by the new media, always keen on announcing bad news!
By his incarnation, life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ is a true prophet of God. He embodies in his preaching and life the tree prophetic tasks: to denounce, renounce and announce. Should he come today, would he be amazed by our strong faith or our lack of faith? Do I welcome the Gospel as a call to conversion? Do I practice what I profess? Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of my life? Or do I consider him just as a man…may be a great man as did the people of his own country? (Mk 6: 4).
God has already sent his Son Jesus Christ as the High prophet. But today also, he continues to send many prophets among us. They are all those people helping us to go back to the ways of the Lord, which means, the ways of the Gospel. Pope Francis is a prophet of our times. His words and deeds continuously invite us to go back to the Gospel. But there other prophets:
- all married couples struggling to be faithful to their marital promises, to care for their children;
- all those public workers committed to their duties according to the Gospel;
- all politicians trying to work for a just world and earning a honest salary;
- all priests, religious and catechists announcing and living the Gospel…
Here, I would like to quote the words of Mariatu Kamara, a lady who was helped by a missionary. During the memorial mass of the 5th death anniversary of our confrere Giuseppe Berton, the founder of Family Homes Movement (FHM), Mariatu said: “Fr. Berton was a true prophet of God. He really loved us so much. He gave us everything”.
May God raise among us many true prophets and help us to listen to them.