This week I picked the first reading from Jeremiah, which is, of course, quite famous. In reflecting on this passage, I couldn't help but think of times in my life when I failed to act like a prophet. Sure, I wasn't being called to publicly rebuke a president or governor or some other elected official, but there certainly have been times when I could have spoken to family member or friend who needed to hear a gentle word from the Lord. Perhaps it is time we again take seriously our baptismal dignity as not only a king and priest, but also a prophet. We, of course, must do so with great discernment and gentleness. Yet this role as prophet is something we have been called to participate in, even before we saw "the light of day."
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
This is what God said:
“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”
“But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work!
Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say.
Don’t pull your punches
or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.
“Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work.
I’m making you as impregnable as a castle,
Immovable as a steel post,
solid as a concrete block wall.
You’re a one-man defense system
against this culture,
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
against the priests and local leaders.
They’ll fight you, but they won’t
even scratch you.
I’ll back you up every inch of the way.”