Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Prophets Needed Today

Father John J. Lombardi

In this Madoff -Michael Jackson era of swindling and sad stardom, we need prophets today to remind us of God and supernatural destiny.

What is needed to Jesus’ Gospel Calling is right Response: many rejected Jesus and so He could not work a miracle there (St Mk.6:1-6 ). How radically open are you to God? I just talked to a young lady who is interested in becoming a religious sister and she said she wants to promptly respond to His calling and not delay. Openness is expressed thru married couples welcoming children into their families. One time a man and his wife heard about the Church’s teaching on contraception and decided they were wrong, and changed their lives, and gave $2,000 to the Church to promote the beauty of married life.

A prophet Reminds us of God and our responsibilities to Him. In college a student reminded another student to find Christ in his studies and the importance of his calling at that time as a "scholar". In this time when morals are so changing, prophets remind us of doing good and avoiding evil.

A prophet is Rejected. In this Sundays readings both Ezekiel and Jesus are rejected.When you tell the Truth be assured sometimes you will suffer ridicule Pope John Paul was chastened when he critiqued "savage capitalism’ which can become hedonistic, exploitative of the poor and fuel individualism and consumerism. Yet, he continued to speak prophetically to liberate people. Mother Teresa was rejected when she spoke about the materialist West, its loneliness and tendency to treat people-esp the poor and elderly­as soulless objects.

What are the "ABC’s today where we need prophets? Antinomianism: this word means lawlessness. Thus "almost anything goes" approach to morals/ethics. Abortion and stem cell research and depersonalizing sexualism are promoted. Busybodyism: always being occupied so families are exploited, relationships disintegrate and the individual person becomes burned out, worn down into a kind of carelessness. Comfortism: from eating to transportation to housing many sometimes seek inordinate comforts and pleasures. And become the most comfortable, consumerist people in the world. Prophets like St Francis of Assisi show us to scale down and realize our riches in the Lord and service of others.Prophets are Truth-tellers. Cont’d. on insert.

"Give me liberty or give me death!" said American Patrick Henry. We need prophets like this in our Faith to help us with courage­overcoming obstacles in living and proclaiming of Religion in the world today.

A prophet like Ezekiel goes right into challenges. How many of us do? We sometimes get afraid and back down. Who are some of those brave souls who are prophetic?

Depersonalization: Jean Vanier was a brilliant French philosopher and gave this up to serve our Lord in the handicapped and disabled, founding the L’Arche (The Arch) communities thru the world. He shows that disabled folks are people, not things to be treated unfairly­they, too have dignity and personhood and we must protect them.

Catholicism: men like William of The Catholic League defend our Church against smear campaigns, against the Virgin Mary and Blessed Eucharist and show us the beauty of our Faith and to stand up and defend it.

Family: One of the biggest challenges today is to our families. St Maximillion Kolbe stood up for a family man in a concentration camp who was being threatened with death and took his place so the man could live.

Country: Some are trying to divorce God from our country. Evangelical Christians boldly stand up to bring God back into public life in right, legal ways. How about you?

Technopoly: Lee Siegel in his important book "Against the Machine" raises questions about the Internet and, amidst its many helps, investigates and raises warnings about its dark side, like pornography, identity theft and depersonalization.

BioMedical Ethics: People like the author of the novel "Frankenstein"­Mary Shelley, and Leon Kass, past leader of the President’s Bio-Ethics committee warn us today of serious sicentifiic issues, and today like stem cell research (paciking apart babies for "spare parts"), In Vitro Fertilization (making ababies in laboratories from diapsarte "partners" of parenthood and sterilized of personal contact and love­all these issues are like a horse out of the barn and train wreck­for they disfigure and harm what it means to be human, a person in the way God designed us.

As we celebrate Fourth of July weekend, we celebrate freedom, let us remember a greeting-sign of a local church: "The greatest freedom is independence from sin."

Remember Pope John Paul II who often said to so many people "Be not afraid!" So be prophetic, in your own way, to bring Truth, liberating love to others.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi