A Time For Prophets
Thoughts on the Second Reading – Joe Frankenfield
Isaiah 50:4-7

Several years ago, at a parents’ gathering a mother commented that we need to do better teaching our young boys respect: that people aren’t things and that being aggressive in pursuit of a goal doesn’t excuse violence towards another. While many forces work against this idea, she was convinced that it’s attainable if parents make it a conscious priority and support one another.

Prophesy has garnered both abuse and ridicule from the ignorant. They equate the term with parlor room predictions, generally of a religious nature. Social commentators scoff at the very idea of someone foolhardy enough to rise up before others and direct social traffic. Cynics find only danger in anyone’s attempting such a role: at best it’s self-delusion, at worst a charlatan’s play for political power.

Still, there’s a longing for prophets and awe when a true one arises and moves our hearts. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa, Dorothy Day, Bishop Ken Untener – we watch people like these amazed by their power and authority. We half fear that they’ll reveal feet of clay, succumbing to the tide of public derision but we still root for them to be who they seem, to live what they speak, to demonstrate to everyone the potential lying within us.

Prophesy has nothing to do with foretelling the future, it has nothing to do with being smarter than everyone else. It is observing the direction of life’s hope, vibrating in harmony with the Creator’s longing and openly, boldly living what one knows to be true. Prophesy acts. It may speak, but it always acts. And when it acts, people know that it’s true. They may join in; they may refuse. But they know they’ve witnessed truth.

Every follower of Jesus agrees to be a prophet. Our lives are billboards of hope for a rushing world. We may sometimes speak. We will always act for the future, for life, for justice, for love, for what we all can be, for what God is building among us. Sometimes we will give voice to an honest, prayerful heart in a gathering of parents. But we will be God’s presence. We will be prophets.