Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Since it seems that the talk of the entire world has been the recently published interview with Pope Francis, it seems appropriate to relate three of his themes to the readings that remain in the week. Today we begin with prophesy.
Pope Francis puts a high premium on the importance of prophecy in the religious life, but the gift is found throughout the Church. Today it is something of a commonplace to point out that the notion of prophecy is not restricted to predicting the future. Hopefully it is also becoming a commonplace that neither is prophecy the simple challenging of the hierarchy. Rather, the Holy Father expresses it this way: “Prophecy announces the spirit of the gospel.” Prophecy communicates to the Church and the world what God wants to communicate in a particular historical situation.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Haggai challenges those who have returned from exile to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. While many complacently rebuilt their private life, Haggai’s message was that God wanted them to rebuild the life of the nation, centered in the Temple. How are they to know that this is truly God’s message? They have sown, eat, and drunk, but received no fruit from their efforts. The role of the prophet is to lead people back to the wellspring of life is found in God’s plan.
Thus, the prophet is not an ideological hack. He is a truth-teller. This truth, however, never ages. It is ever-new, speaking to each age the words of life.