Deacon Cornellís Homily


Jeremiah 20:10-13
Romans 5:12-15
Matthew 10:26-33


June 24-25, 2017, Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Being a prophet is certainly a tough job. Poor Jeremiah. He is beset on every side with persecution and harassment. He is ordered by the priests not to prophesize; he scourged; he is thrown down a well and left to die; he is imprisoned; and finally he is dragged off to Egypt against his will to die in exile. And like most of the prophets in the Old Testament, he didn't even want the job. He was called by God at a young age to speak God's word to the people of Jerusalem at a time when they were being threatened from the north. He tried to reject the call by claiming he was too young. God didn't buy it. Then after enduring threats and bullying and commands to stop, he cries out that he tried to stop speaking God's word or even remembering God just to have some peace, but God's word just became like a fire in his bones so that he has to speak it.

Jesus warns his disciples as he sends them off to proclaim the kingdom of God that he is sending them like sheep among the wolves, that they will be scourged, and all will hate them. People will call them Beezelbub just as they have called Jesus that.

So who here wants to be a prophet? I thought so. But the truth is no one chooses to be a prophet. God is the one who chooses his prophets. How many people here have been called by God to be a prophet? If you have been baptized in the Catholic Church then you are a prophet. Week after week now we have baptized new Catholics at Mass. After we baptized them with the water that represents dying to Christ and rising then to new life in Christ, we anoint them with the holy Chrism and pray over them, ďAs Christ was anointed priest, PROPHET, and king, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.Ē A prophet is one who speaks Godís word. And as we hear today in both the first reading and the Gospel, a prophetís life is full of danger and discouragement. So we prophets would do well to listen to these readings.

Today's readings are a cautionary tale for us here in St. Isidore parish and St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish. In the case of Jeremiah, the people did not listen to God's call and they ended up being overrun by the Babylonians and hauled off into exile for 70 years. We as Catholics here in this part of the world are being called by God through his prophets like Pope Francis, and Cardinal O'Malley as well as the more local ones to start living out our baptismal commissioning. Believe me I understand how hard this is to change how we understand what it means to be Catholic. We were brought up to think it meant obeying a list of commandments, accepting as true a list of dogmatic statements, and participating in the sacraments on a regular basis. We were brought up wrong. Being Catholic means doing all those things we were taught because we are convinced in our hearts, because we have experienced in our lives that God is a personal God who loves us, who knows us intimately, who had numbered every hair on our heads, and who invites us to be full participants in responding to that love. We have to start speaking God's word as the prophets we are anointed to be because that word of love and care and intimate relationship burns like a fire in our bones; because we will literally burst if we do not speak that word, not just with our voices but with our lives.

If we don't, this parish will disappear like the inhabitants of Jerusalem some 2600 years ago. So let us be more like the disciples Jesus sent out into the world than the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Jeremiah's day. Let's all stop just showing up and start becoming full, active, and concious participants in this Eucharistic celebration Jesus summons us to each week. Let's start participating in the life of this parish, this collaborative, in liturgical ministries, helping maintain our garden so we can help feed those who are struggling in our midst, in bible studies, in small faith groups, in Alpha this fall, and so on. But most of all, let us pray always and everywhere, that we become aware of how much God loves us, and what a joy it is to return that love, letting the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for us all.

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