First Reading: Jeremiah 1-4, 17-19
Second Reading: Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
Are you called to be a prophet? Am I? We strive to be a prophetic witness and speak truth to power individually and collectively. Where did this desire come from? And when put to the test, where does the strength come from to follow through on our commitment? Perhaps like the Prophet Jeremiah we too were dedicated by our Creator before we were born, before we were even formed. The call we have given voice to and the strength we can feel in uncertain times comes from the same Creator who promised Jeremiah, “I am with you.” This is truly something worth celebrating in the words of Psalm 71.
If in the first reading we relate to being dedicated to making a positive difference on our earthly journey, the second reading from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians cautions us to root everything in love. We must bear prophetic witness in love and speak truth to power with love if we hope to make any difference. This is far harder than it sounds to accomplish in a world filled with the sound of clashing cymbals of hate-filled rhetoric, and resounding gongs of uncompromising stances and destructive actions. Our first response, beyond frustration, might be anger, aggressive rebukes, and even dismissal of the others as unworthy of our compassion. St. Paul reminds us that without the Love of God in our hearts and actions we gain nothing. Love is the source of all mercy, the strength that never fails. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things because Divine Mercy seeks oneness with all things.
Being prophetic, speaking truth in love can drive us to the edge of the cliff. In the Gospel, Luke illustrates this in his retelling of Jesus’ encounter with the elders in the synagogue. At first, while Jesus was praised and welcome, as His message became more pointed and challenging to the elders, the risk of rejection grew to the point when He is almost forced off a cliff. Jesus reminds us that prophets are most often heard outside their lands, which is to say outside our own perceived comfort zones. Jesus also demonstrates His trust in God’s protection and conviction in His mission as he walks through their midst. Do we have that same trust and conviction? Do we believe we been called to be a prophetic witness and speak truth to power? Most importantly, can we do this in love?
Let us pray for the grace to live fully the life to which we have been called.
Sister Joan Agro, O.P.