“To speak or not to speak?”
When I hear the text concerning “sin against the Holy Spirit” it always reminds me of the little boy, who prayed honestly one day: “Dear God, don’t worry if you can’t make me into a better boy, I’m having a really good time like I am!” It’s a reminder to us that sin against the Holy Spirit is to tell ourselves that our sin is not really a sin. We should sin bravely =honestly!
The readings this week throw the light on Prophets and prophetic actions. Is it only about the Leaders of our Church, about Jesus Christ Himself, or is it also about you and I?
Let’s reflect on our Baptism ritual: 1. When we were anointed with oil during Baptism, the words are spoken: “He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live always as a member of his body,….” and
- Later a prayer was prayed over our lips and our ears: “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith,” I think it’s pretty clear that each of us, today, also has a prophetic role.
So, when the prophet says, “‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you;”… it is a statement of God’s faith in each one of us.
It may be helpful to reflect for a moment on what is a Prophet and how do they act?
A prophet does two things: they teach the truth about how to live whether it is welcome or not welcome; and they observe well what is happening around them, so as to warn of danger.
It’s also fair to say that some of us may be called to be Major Prophets (for Global issues), and others to be “Everyday Prophets” (Local Issues). Both are equally important, because without the “Everyday Prophets” no one would be ready to listen to the Major Prophets.
In Kenya we have many self-proclaimed “Prophets” building small gatherings and preaching the prosperity Gospel, sometimes creating false miraculous healings to prove their power.
But, are they rich or poor? Do they help the poor or demand money from the poor?
When we see preachers buying private jets and driving expensive cars it’s a sign they are not real prophets from God. The frequent sign of a real Prophet is hinted at in today’s readings: when we speak the truth, we are often not very welcome and, like Jeremiah, we can suffer rejection. But, if we persevere, in spite of our suffering, we prove that we are Prophets.
The first Prophets we are exposed to are our Mums/Dads. As we grew up, we know how often we were frustrated by them, and some children felt like stoning them! Words like “I hate you” sometimes fall from our lips. But, later, we realise the wisdom and good habits they taught us.
The important thing for parents is to not take it personally when your children are rejecting and “nasty” to you. Your response to their anger is equally as importance to what you instruct.
In fact, our willingness to suffer for them is the sign that you are Prophets from God, and not from the Evil One. A mother with a daughter on drugs called the Police after three repeated promises to stop did not work. As the daughter is dragged out screaming she yelled to her mother: “I hate you, I’ll never see you again!” But after prison she returned and apologized.
All of us will find ourselves in similar situations: as a worker, we have a role to speak up when other workers are stealing or doing poor quality work that affects the safety of others.
When we keep silent, the company goes bust and we all lose our jobs.
As a Citizen, we speak up to help the poor: if not for their dignity then at least for our self-preservation: or the poor will rise up and start a revolution (world history is full of examples).
Today, we see the struggle to believe the Prophets of Climate Change. We don’t want to change our lifestyles, so we say Global Warming is fake. This is an example of the Sin Against the Holy Spirit: when we say the Truth is a lie and the Lie is the truth.
You will understand what I mean if you read and reflect on John 9: the man born blind.
When we admit we are sinners, our reaction to the Truth spoken to us by other Prophets will be more reasonable, and help us to grow into better people. Someone wise said:
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”
Jack Canfield: “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”.
Now, how do we “survive” the rejection of our Prophetic work? St Paul urges us to listen deeply to what Jesus did and taught and see that the most important thing we do each day is to love: we show that love by a smile, by stopping to listen and by sharing what we have with others. They feel good, and we also leave feeling good.
Part of the secret to a happy life is revealed in today’s readings: be honest about our “sins”, check if our Prophets suffer for us and, if so, listen to them by changing our behaviour(s).
By Gerard Conlan, OMI