Saturday, 14 July 2018

Week 14 Saturday (Year 2)

Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 93; Matthew 10:24-33

For the most part the prophets of the Bible are reluctant prophets. It is the case with Jeremiah, Amos and Jonah, for example. Isaiah responds positively to the call but only after his lips have been cauterized by a burning coal from the fire. If that was the initiation required then it is easy to see why so many would be reluctant to undertake the task.

Of course it is a symbolic representation of what is required in the life of the prophet if he is to be a loving servant of the Word of God.. The real anxiety for those called to be prophets was about the reaction of people when they began their preaching. To be a preacher at all can provoke disdain and rejection. To be the bearer of bad news was even worse and to be asked to call people to change their lives worse again.

What consolation can be offered these men and women called to be prophets? They will have some assurance that they are serving God in what they do although there may be times when this assurance becomes weaker and they are not so sure. They have also the company of fellow prophets, those who were called across the centuries to bear witness to God's Word in a myriad of situations. And they have finally the company of Jesus, the greatest of the prophets, the prophet like Moses, who is not just a bearer of the Word to the people but is himself that Word Incarnate.

The service of Truth - to be what Catherine of Siena calls 'the bride or groom of Truth' - is never an easy task. To speak of holiness and justice in a world that is more comfortable with compromise and lies can provoke the strongest reactions, even to the point of persecuting and killing the prophets. The disciple can expect to be received and treated in the same ways in which the Master has been received and treated.

But we are not to be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot touch the soul. The only real fear to entertain is the fear of those powers that can kill the soul. The hairs on the prophet's head are numbered and he is worth more than many sparrows. It means his fate can never fall outside the knowledge and concern of the Heavenly Father. We can be confident that the Father will stay with the ones who bear witness to Him in the world even as he stayed with the Son and vindicated him in the glory of the resurrection.

We have only to acknowledge God before men and women, and we will be acknowledged by him.

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