Jesus is the definitive answer to the prayers of those who bemoan that there are no prophets. That is how wanted prophets are.
That prophets are that wanted is clear in the lament, “Now we see no signs, we have no prophets.” We read something like it in Lam 2, 9. Both passages agree in a certain sense with the saying, “Without prophecy, people perish” (Prov 29, 18). These passages are the prayers of those who feel God has cast them off. Unlike Saul, however, they have not completely lost heart (1 Sam 28, 5).
Yet it is not that there are no prophets. God always sends them to us, but we fail to recognize them. Had we recognized them, we would have wanted to listen to them. And so, we receive the warning that there are prophets among us, whether we heed them or not.
There is the warning, besides, that even Jesus’ own people can reject him. Yes, we Christians run the risk of rejecting the prophet God has raised up for us in these last days. It is not at all impossible that we share the scribes and Pharisees’ long history of rejecting prophets. We can also react as those who are from Jesus’ native place.
Those from Nazareth think that they know Jesus better than anyone. Because they have known him as a child, they cannot bear the thought that he is a prophet. They, then, take offense at him. And, according to Luke, they even treat Jesus as a wanted criminal; they try to throw him off the cliff. Later on, people with swords and clubs will seize him like a wanted robber.
Those who truly belong to Jesus recognize the one all generations of people of good will have wanted.
God’s people on earth do not think they know everything about Jesus. They do not flaunt their knowledge. They are simple folks. That is why the Father reveals to them the mystery of his Son. These poor people are the ones who keep the true religion and a living faith (SV.EN XI:190).
And it is quite natural for them to take Jesus as one with them in suffering and rejection. Together with him, then, they surrender to God’s will; because they are weak, they are strong. They show, too, that they are willing to give their bodies up and shed their blood for others.
But they also recognize Jesus a prophet who wants justice for the poor. And so, they welcome as prophets those who work for the sake of justice.
Lord Jesus, grant that we recognize you as the prophet that all generations have wanted. See to it that our prejudices, ambitions and lack of faith never hinder you from healing us.
8 July 2018
14th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Ez 2, 2-5; 2 Cor 12, 7-10; Mk 6, 1-6
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Ross Dizon