I admire prophets when they challenge other people to change their attitudes and ways in face of a threatening reality. But when they invite me to see and live in a new way, I suddenly feel uncomfortable and resistant to their message. Prophets uproot us from our complacency.
In today’s gospel, the home community of Jesus is very upset by his teachings on the kingdom of God. They ultimately reject its inclusive vision of liberating the poor, the prisoner, the lame, and the blind, because it calls them to a radical change of heart in relationship with others. Shocked in turn by their lack of faith, Jesus can do very little among them.
Prophets identify the “signs of the times,” pointing out where God wants us to give our utmost care and attention. As the baptized people of God we share the prophetic mission of Christ to bring reconciliation to our alienated world. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, helps us tremendously to live out this responsibility. Tested by his own trials and human weaknesses, he hears Christ say to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
When we learn to surrender as Paul did, relying on God to be our strength, our weakness too becomes our strength. Invited by Christ to walk humbly with him, we receive the faith and courage to serve prophetically God’s kingdom.