Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 3, 2019
A favorite Christian writer of mine, Frederick Buechner, once wrote that there’s no record of anyone inviting a prophet home to dinner more than once. Buechner’s quip was his way to define the role of the biblical prophets—certainly they were controversial figures!
Today we hear God choose Jeremiah for that role. God warns the prophet that his message to the kings and priests of Judah will be so challenging that he’ll meet with opposition. Biblical prophets weren’t out to make enemies, but felt impelled to speak the truth–God’s truth–with love. It just so happened that their message was often “tough love.”
Jesus in our Gospel today, is a prophet visiting his hometown. He anticipates resistance, stating clearly that no prophet is ever accepted in his native place. His words prove true as the people rise up to throw Jesus over a cliff!
Few of us are called to be prophets—but I suspect we can identify some contemporary figures who fit that role. Pope John Paul II often challenged the Church and the secular world with his teaching of the Gospel on a variety of subjects from abortion to capital punishment to social justice.
How do we accept the prophetic message we hear proclaimed each Sunday? And would we invite the bearer of that message home for Sunday dinner?