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CALLED TO BE PROPHETS

Father Francis's picture
Octave of Christmas

Jn.: 2:3-11 Luke 2: 22-35

Once again in today’s first reading John touches on the subject of love. “Anyone who loves his brother is living in the light.” When we have learned to control our tongue, to repay good for evil, to forgive … it is then that we walk in the light of Christ.

Few of us think of ourselves as prophets. We associate the word with great figures from the Scriptures like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The truth is that by our Baptism we are all made prophets. It was then that we received the Holy Spirit and were anointed with holy oil to become priests, prophets and kings.

Simeon is a model of what it means to live a prophetic life. Luke tells us that he was a righteous and devout man and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Simeon’s heart was open to God. He waited in faith with patience and expectancy, knowing that God always keeps His promises. His will was submitted to the Spirit so that God could use him in His plan for the world. When Jesus was brought to the temple, Simeon was able to recognise who this Child was and reveal Him as the salvation of the Gentiles and the glory of His people, Israel.

Like Simeon we too are called to live prophetic lives that reveal Jesus Christ. How is this possible? We need to make ourselves open to God, so that He can work through us. Our starting point is always prayer, because we can only begin to be prophetic by spending time with God, experiencing that divine exchange in which we give God our time and He gives us His wisdom and spiritual life. Only through prayer can our heart be deeply committed to seeking Jesus’ face and falling more deeply in love with Him. By prayer we receive a heart that values Jesus above everything and makes us open to hear the voice of God.

To be a prophet today is to live a radical but truly exciting life. It is a call that demands single-minded commitment to Jesus. It is a life that allows the Holy Spirit to place Jesus on the throne as the focus of our lives. It is daily repentance, and dying to self, to live for God. We may think that this is beyond us. We are weak and not fit for this task. In a sense, of course, this is true. As we try to live the prophetic life we may experience things far beyond our own ability to endure but, as St. Paul says, this happens ‘to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead’ (2 Co. 1:8-9). This is our hope and our strength, in that we have a God Who has the power to enable weak, unmotivated, worldly Christians like ourselves to go out and do great things for Him.

Holy Spirit, as You led Simeon to the Child Jesus, lead us to Him and may the radiance of His light shine through us in our daily lives so that we might bring others to Him.

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