“Me? You can’t possibly mean me?” You can just imagine the expression of bewilderment that came over Amos when God told him: “Go, prophesy to my people.” He must have been dumbfounded. NOT ME, he surely thought! After all, I’m just a simple shepherd content with herding my sheep. What do I know about being a prophet?
If God asked you today to go out and “prophesy to my people,” to bring your God to the world, what would you say to him? Think about that for a second. What would you say to him? I bet most of us would respond just like Amos did. “What, me a prophet? You’ve got to be kidding me God!?” I have a family and a job! The kids have soccer practice and baseball games. I have no time to be a prophet. Besides, I have no idea what that even means and I’m not all that “religious.”
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Me, a prophet? Here’s something to think about.
Most summer nights, as soon as he gets home from his construction job, Joe heads out back to the small garden he planted behind his house. That little patch of green is one of Joe’s favorite places on earth. He grows tomatoes, some eggplant and beans. His family enjoys the taste of fresh vegetables all summer long even though they eat only a small portion of what he grows. Joe gives the rest of his harvest to his neighbors, all of whom are thankful to share in the fruits of Joe’s labor of love.
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A woman sits quietly in the prayer garden outside of her small church. She gazes at the shrine to the Blessed Mother, made from large, hand-cut stones. She pauses to reflect on her prayer intentions for the day as she admires the beautiful cascading flower beds. This is a very calming and peaceful place that always helps her to pray. She is one of several people who will find solitude and comfort in this garden today. With sweat, love and a passion for his work, this garden was built stone by stone by a parishioner.
God chooses unlikely people to assist him in the work of bringing us to salvation. His plan for us unfolds through the work of very ordinary people like you and me. Among the apostles Jesus sent to be ‘prophets to his people’ were a tent maker, a tax collector and some fishermen. Unlike them, however, God does not ask us to leave our families or work behind and travel to unfamiliar places to bring the word of God to our brothers and sisters. Today he sends ordinary people like us: gardeners and stone masons; mechanics and bookkeepers; doctors and teachers to continue the work of the Apostles.
Modern-day prophets touch minds and hearts and souls with the caring tenderness of God’s love. In ordinary ways, like sharing the harvest or providing a peaceful place to spend time with God, ordinary people unexpectedly become extraordinary prophets of Our Lord’s gospel. God chose us to lead others to him through the work of our lives.
Without a doubt He chose you as part of his plan for the redemption of the world. Jesus asks us to be his prophets by announcing his Gospel and being nothing short of who God created us to be. As St. Paul tells us: “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. He chose us to be his own – to be holy.” We don’t need to do anything else to become holy because we already have the grace of God in our life.
That’s the point Jesus makes perfectly clear in today’s Gospel. In sending out his apostles, Our Lord instructs them not to be distracted, burdened or worried about money or possessions. Like the apostles, Jesus wants us to share the treasures God gave us in life: the gifts of love, forgiveness, a joyful generosity, compassion and a sincere concern for
our fellow man.
A prophet? Yes indeed!
In every caring moment of joy and grace you share with others, you are God’s prophet to his people.