Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
I used to get together with a good friend of mine frequently. We would have a good time shooting the breeze, and one of us would suggest a far-fetched idea of some kind. To which the other would reply, “You are crazy.” And the only acceptable response to that was, “I might be crazy, but I’m not wrong.” Those are the words I hear from Jeremiah today and that is the reality that got John the Baptist in trouble. They were prophets and that is their life. But we too are Baptized prophet. We have a prophetic role to fill and these readings help us glean an insight into what that means for our lives.
First, prophet does not mean one who predicts the future. Sure, that can be a component of prophecy, but that is not its most basic definition. Instead, a prophet is one who speaks on God’s behalf. This might take shape as guiding someone in their discernment, encouraging the discouraged, reminding someone of God’s great love, counseling the doubtful and even speaking clearly against sin. One can see that not all of these messages are popular, which leads us to the next point, popular prophets don’t always exist.
There are times that speaking God’s word into someone’s life leads to tremendous joy and gratitude from the recipient. However, there are also times that it leads to squirming. This doesn’t mean that either of these reactions are proof of prophecy, but it is good to know that you can be a prophet and keep your head, but you aren’t guaranteed to. As Jeremiah shows us, prophecy thrives amid meekness.
To be meek has many meanings, but for today let’s focus on one. Meekness means that we have our priorities straight. We recognize that the reception of the message is far greater than our own reception. This is why Jeremiah can say what he says, “Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you. As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what you think good and right.” He is less concerned with how they will judge him and more concerned with their response to God’s word. We should all long for this kind of meekness.
Lord, please make us meek in the sense of right priority. Help others know you more than they know us. Give us hearts of great love that desire to make you known and speak truth when it is needed, whether they be words of consolation, blessing, counsel, or admonishment. Open our hearts to the prophecy we might receive so we can proclaim you Kingdom as we try to live it out as well.
- Spencer Hargadon