Would that all God’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them. It is good to remember that prophets were not those who foretold future events. Prophets were men and women who called the community to be faithful to the call and message of God, right here, right now.
No one has a corner of God’s love and grace. There are men and women in every Christian community who imagine they have such a corner and they often belittle the good works of others. The truth of the matter is that the Holy Spirit is within every child of God and it is good for each of us to be alert and respectful of the working of the Spirit even within people with whom we do not agree. I often drive by Peoples Church on Sunday and see the people streaming into it and the thought that comes to my mind is – here God is glorified and praised. Not as we glorify and praise here at St. Gabriel’s, but glorified and praised none the less.
I don’t know about you but I am so proud of Pope Francis – a prophet, a man who challenges our fidelity to teaching of Jesus. His talks to Congress and the UN were inspirational as he called political leaders of the US and of the world ‘do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ He called all of us to recognize and respect the human dignity of the person in front of us, whether that person is a CEO or a street person. Time and again he stood with the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed men and women of the societies in which we live. No one was surprised when, as a prophet, he asked that people put aside political and business interests and admit to the ecological and environmental crises developing around us. As prophet Pope Francis called us to respect life in all its stages and for an end to the death penalty and the worldwide sale of military arms. In all his speeches his main concern was for the poor, those who wait for crumbs to fall from the tables of the prosperous. Economically it is called ‘The trickledown theory.’
I think Pope Francis has done us proud. I think he echoes the words of Moses, ‘would that all God’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them.’ Would that each one of us had the courage to be prophets and speak the truth to bigots and prejudicial men and women who belittle men and women of other faiths, cultures and life styles. Would that each of us were prophets and ask the men and women running for office in this election, what is the track record of their party as regards justice for the First Nations, support affordable housing, employment for our young people, care for our veterans, support for welfare recipients, and so many other serious social concerns that are part and parcel of lives of Canadians.
Addressing the US Congress Pope Francis cautioned us with these words, ’we need to avoid a common temptation nowadays; to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you have them do unto you.’
Several times Pope Francis asked people to pray for him and then he added, ‘if you do not believe in God and do not pray please send kind thoughts my way.’
As we continue to celebrate this Mass may we all keep Pope Frances in our thoughts and prayers and be prophets – speakers of God’s truth when, in the different circumstances our own lives, we are challenged to be so.