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We are all prophets
In his Angelus message on Sunday 2 July, citing the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, §35, Pope Francis reminded us that “we are all prophets, witnesses of Jesus, so ‘that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in daily social and family life’.”
It’s no accident that §35 of Lumen Gentium forms part of Chapter IV on The Laity, the chapter most influenced by Cardijn and the Jocist bishops and theologians at the Council.
As Lumen Gentium also says in §33, “the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth.”
Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself “according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal”. Indeed, this “lay apostolate” is “a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself,” the Council tells us.
Indeed, not only are we called upon to play a prophetic role but also a priestly and kingly role, reflecting and participating in those triple roles of Jesus himself.
And yet Cardijn himself rarely used these terms in relation to the lay vocation. Instead, he spoke of the need for each lay leader to educate, serve and represent his peers.
When Pope Francis asks to play the role of prophet in our daily lives, educating our peers in the faith, isn’t this exactly what he is asking of us today?
Angelus Message, 2 July 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward” (Mt 10:41). The word “prophet” appears three times. But what type of prophet? There are some who imagine a prophet to be some type of magician who foretells the future. But this is a superstitious idea and a Christian does not believe in superstitions, such as magic, tarot cards, horoscopes and other similar things. In parentheses, many, many Christians go to have the palms read… Please… Others depict a prophet as a character from the past only, who existed before Christ to foretell his coming. And yet, Jesus himself speaks today of the need to welcome prophets. Therefore, they still exist. But who are they? What is a prophet?
Each one of us, brothers and sisters, is a prophet. In fact, with Baptism, all of us received the gift of the prophetic mission (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1268). A prophet is the one who, by virtue of Baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit. This is very important: to read the present not like news, no… to read it as enlightened and under the action of the Holy Spirit, who helps to understand God’s plans and correspond to them. In other words, the prophet is the one who points Jesus out to others, who bears witness to him, who helps live today and to build the future according to his designs. So we are all prophets, witnesses of Jesus, so “that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in daily social and family life” (Lumen Gentium, 35). A prophet is a living sign who points God out to others. A prophet is a reflection of Christ’s light on the path of the brothers and sisters. And so, we can ask ourselves: Do I, – each one of us – Do I, who am “a prophet by election” through Baptism, do I speak, and above all, do I live as a witness of Jesus? Do I bring a little bit of his light into the life of another person? Do I evaluate myself on this? I ask myself: What is my bearing witness like, what is my prophecy like?
In the Gospel, the Lord also asks to welcome the prophets. So it is important to welcome each other as such, as bearers of God’s message, each one according to his state and vocation, and to do it right where we live – that is, in the family, in the parish, in the religious community, in other places in the Church and in society. The Spirit has distributed gifts of prophecy in the holy People of God. This is why it is good to listen to everyone. For example, when an important decision needs to be made – let us think about this – it is good to pray first of all, to call on the Spirit, but then to listen and dialogue trusting that each person, even the littlest, because they have something important to say, a prophetic gift to share. Thus, the truth is sought and the climate is spread of listening to God and our brothers and sisters where people do not feel welcome because they say what I like, but they feel accepted and valued as the gifts they are.
Let us reflect on how many conflicts could be avoided and resolved in this way, listening to others with the sincere desire to understand each other! So, finally, let us ask ourselves: Do I know how to welcome my brothers and sisters as prophetic gifts? Do I believe that I need them? Do I listen to them respectfully, with the desire to learn? Because each of us needs to learn from others. Each of us needs to learn from others.
May Mary, Queen of Prophets, help us see and welcome the good that the Spirit has sown in others.
Pope Francis, Angelus message, 2 July 2023 (Vatican.va)