Our readings today picture three prophets who ran up against stonewalls. Jesus ran up against a stonewall with his hometown people who couldn’t see him as anything but their neighbor’s boy.
The Prophet Ezekiel ran up against a stonewall with the Israelites because they were “hard of face and obstinate of heart.”
Paul ran up against the stonewall of is own flawed character. It weakened his ability for getting God’s word across.
The Jewish word for a prophet, nabi, was actually a child’s word for his mouth. The Jewish choice of that word tells us that they thought of a prophet as one who lends his mouth to God for speaking the truth.
Let me switch to another assertion. It is this: by reason of our Baptisms each of us is called upon to be a prophet. Paul says we are baptized into Christ, and that gives us a share in his role as a prophet. As baptized Christians we are not only entitled to speak God’s truth, we are also duty-bound to speak God’s truth when we see it.
But, even though we are bound to speak God’s truth, we must also keep in mind the possibility that we may be wrong.
In retirement I wrote a 500 page account of my long life, and it has made me see how often I have had to change my mind after having been a hundred percent sure of myself.
The memory of an incident from fifty years ago often comes back to humble me. After being a pastor in Korea for seven years I sat down with six priests newly arrived there. I was a prophet letting them in on truths I had come by. Then, Father Bob Sweeney, one of the young priests, rose up, and hovering over me, he asked, “Who are you? God?”
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