Friday, November 23, 2012

Not so Black Friday

As people around the US go wild shopping, time for a brief pause and look at today's reading. The protagonist in the Book of Revelation narrative is told to take a scroll and eat it. It tastes sweet but sours his stomach, a feeling some of us may identify with this morning.

Then he is commanded, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” Here we have to be very careful to distinguish between being prophetic and just being a jerk.

Prophets never self-nominated; they were called by God, and most reluctantly so.
They tuned the light of critique most harshly on themselves.
They truly loved God and loved others.
They remembered that their ultimate goal was not "speaking the truth" for its own sake, but to call people to God.

There are really two flavors of false prophets.
Those who tell people what they want to hear true or not.
And, on the other side, those who are simply unhappy, hypercritical, people who confuse venting their spleen, with speaking the word of God.
Both are wrong.

In our Catholic faith, by virtue of our baptism, we are all called to participate in the prophetic mission of the Church. This does not mean standing and yelling about how wrong someone else is, but through our every word and action calling others to Christ. Does it at times mean telling someone a painful truth? Yes. But even that should be done with love, and in the way most likely to be heard.