Today we begin readings from the Prophet Jeremiah who was a reluctant prophet. When called on he said, “Ah, Lord God. I know not how to speak.”
At the restaurant this morning a group put two tables together, and after much laughter, they asked one man to offer the blessing, and he was not reluctant.
That put me in mind of a talk I once had with an Irish priest who in 1942 had a parish in China. It was beyond the westward spread of the Japanese Empire, and in April of 1942 some of Jimmy Dolittle’s B-25’s set down near him after their surprise raid on Tokyo.
The crewmen headed west on foot, bumming food and blankets from missionaries. Anyway, my friend Father Peter Toal was there then; and he said the crewmen preferred Catholic missions because the prayers before meals didn’t take forever.
In calling Jeremiah to be a prophet, God touched him on the lips. You may have heard my comment on that. The Hebrew word for a prophet was nabi, which was the child’s name for his mouth. A prophet then, was a person who lent the use of his mouth to God for speaking the truth.
Another thing you may remember me saying was that each of us can be called to be prophets. Following on pouring on of the water in Baptism, the priest reminds us that we have been baptized into Christ. And, anointing us with sacred chrism, he consecrates us for a sharing in Christ’s role as priest, and in his role as prophet. As priests we all share in sacrificing ourselves with Christ in the Mass. As prophets we can be called upon to speak out, proclaiming God’s truths. Jeremiah