Simon Cowell – loved and hated by some. Because he tells it like it is. He gives his honest opinion.
What are some characteristics of Old Testament prophets?
An Old Testament prophet has experienced a call. Jeremiah for example, our prophet in our first reading, is the one who says, “before you formed me in the womb you knew me, O Lord.” And later, after hearing God’s call to be a prophet Jeremiah says, “I do not know how to speak. I am too young!” But the LORD answers him… Do not say, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.
And this is the second great characteristic of Old Testament prophets, they have to speak. Or a better word is they are compelled. They are so convinced of this call, they cannot ignore it. They must speak.
And finally, the last identifying characteristic of an Old Testament prophet is that they were very unpopular or even hated because they spoke challenging words. This is what is happening for our prophet in the first reading. Jeremiah is unpopular. He complains to us: Denounce! Let us denounce him! … All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
So an Old Testament prophet experienced God’s call, were compelled to speak for God, and finally were very unpopular. Who is signing up?
Well, this is exactly what Jesus wants us to be this weekend. Jesus wants us to be prophets. He says to us in our Gospel, What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. Being a prophet in today’s world is not easy. A prophet in today’s world proclaims God’s love and truth.
Many of you know that a couple of weeks ago I preached about George Floyd’s death, how racism is evil and a sin, and that we need to find a way to bring Christ’s unity in our world. I agonized over this homily. I had the diocesan director of communications read that homily before I gave it. I let Fr. Len know that I was preaching about it so that he wasn’t surprised. And I spent a lot of time praying with it and asking the Holy Spirit to give me the words. Why am I telling you this? because I knew that this had the potential to be an unpopular homily. I knew that for some it would be challenging. But, this is was a Jeremiah moment for me. I felt called to speak. I even tried to get out of it because I didn’t want to speak about something difficult the first weekend back to Mass. And I knew for some it would be an unpopular homily.
Here’s the point. This was a moment that God was asking me to be like an Old Testament prophet. But Jesus is asking all of us to be prophet. What I have whispered to you, [you must] proclaim on the housetops. We are called to be prophets.
Proclaims God’s word in our world. This means we must know scripture and have a life of prayer. The place where Jesus “whispers” to us is both in scripture and in our personal prayer life. Once we’ve heard his word we must share it with others. All of us are baptized into new life with Jesus. As baptized Christians, we are baptized as priests, prophets, and kings. We are baptized as prophets, people who proclaim God from the rooftops.
Something we hear over and over again on America’s Got Talent from people is that they want to impress Simon. They hope that he will see their talent. Why, because he is the most honest. And if he liked it, most likely many people liked it as well. We are called to be prophets people who proclaim God’s love and truth, even when its hard, to others in our lives.
In Christ’s love and Friendship,