For most of us, prophecy is understood as prediction of the future.
While this is correct, such a definition is considered only as a secondary nuance to the phenomenon itself.
It is quite appropriate to talk about this matter for the reason that this Sunday’s readings are centered around prophecy as a phenomenon, as a gift, as a task and living challenge.
By nature, prophecy is an act of speaking on behalf of God. A prophet, therefore, is God’s spokesperson — regardless of age, sex, language, nationality, or group affiliation.
A prophet, thus, makes known, manifests or proclaims God’s mind and will with its all encompassing scope — spiritual, moral, ecological, personal, social, and so on.
This is the primary nuance of prophecy. But since its fulfillment is directed to a future time, its predictive sense takes precedence.
Now, there are two characteristic modes of prophecy: announcement and denouncement.
Announcement is not only just about giving information. It is always related to the good news it carries.
It directs the hearers to a specific mood of gladness.
Hence, such a message is called a “gospel” or the good news of salvation.
While it bears with it a sense of celebration and rejoicing, it carries with it at the same time a living challenge to embrace and cultivate, maintain and continue the positive reason for its goodness and salvific impact.
Prophecy empowers people apart from its inspiring power.
As it encourages and pushes us to continue and remain consistent in the good deeds being acknowledged that we do, such an announcement brings fulfillment and satisfaction.
And it sustains us to move on with grateful hearts, positive character, hopeful lives, and decisive spirits.
This is what Moses earnestly and greatly desired when he exclaimed: “If only all the people of the LORD were prophets! If only the LORD would bestow his spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29).
The other aspect — that of denouncement — however, is the most sensitive dimension of prophecy.
Here is brought about a further examination of the courage and the necessary boldness to carry out such a great and decisive task.
It is noteworthy, therefore, to read the entire message from the Second Reading today, Letter of James 5:1-6.
Sometimes, this phenomenon is accompanied by signs and deeds over evil.
Here, enters Jesus’ powerful response to a protest raised by his own disciples against an outsider driving out demons (Mark 9:39-40): “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
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