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Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Prophetic Call

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, July 8, 2018 
St Francis Hospital, Roslyn, New York

On this fourteenth Sunday, we rejoice in the spirit of prophecy and faithful witness to Christ. Although, the exercise of this mission does not bring us comfort, we must continue to exercise it. This is because, the grace of God is sufficient for us, and makes us strong.

As I reflected over today’s readings (Eze: 2:2-5; Ps: 123:1-2, 2, 3-4 2; Cor 12: 7-10; Mk: 6:1-6), I recalled an encounter I had with someone some time ago. After admonishing her for acting wrongly, she simply turned to me and said: “Sorry Father, do you think you can change me?" Then, she walked away.
However, after few months, she came to apologize and to thank me for helping her transform her life.

As ministers and prophets, we encounter such resistance, insults and discouragements every day. They are the icings on our cake. Yet, we are here every day: “Be ready to accept more discomfort for my sake, for the gospel and, for the good of your generation!”

Fr. Joe Mungai and his congregation in Africa
Like Ezekiel, we all have a prophetic call and mission from God. The question is, where is this mission and, how do we begin it? Quite simple! There is mission everywhere today. There is prophetic mission in our rebellious generation, in our families, in our communities, and in our streets, work places, schools, and in the world at large.

There is much rebellion in our time against God, against nature, against divine institutions (the church), and against the fabrics of our moral, social and cultural heritage. So, God speaks to us today as he spoke to Ezekiel in our first reading:
“Son of man, I am sending you… to the rebels who have turned against me.” So, we must be that voice that cries against injustice, oppression, immorality, corruption and ungodliness.

In the second reading, Paul describes his burden for the sake of the gospel. This burden was like a thorn in his flesh. For Paul, the burden includes:
“insults, hardships, persecutions, loneliness and agonies." They were
his cross as a prophet. Unfortunately, these are things we do not want to experience. This is because, we do not want any discomfort and because, we want everyone to like and, to say only good things about us.

So, even when things are going wrong under our watch and nose, we are afraid to speak out. Our attitude is that of: “Please, let the sleeping dog lie, so that I can have my peace.” I do not want to hurt anybody. I do not want to lose him or her. Unfortunately, the truth is that if you do not correct or help him or her today, tomorrow you will lose him or her forever.

God saw this same fear in Jeremiah and said to him:
“Get ready Jeremiah; go and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them or I will make you even more afraid of them” (Jer 1, 17). The truth is that these are burdens we must bear as Christians if our society must be safe. We must not be afraid because the grace of God is sufficient for us. So, if we are willing, God will fill us with his grace.

In the gospel, Jesus was filled with this grace and spoke fearlessly. Of course, he got his own share of insults. They ridiculed him, called him names like:
“The son of a mere carpenter.” They called him an illiterate, and a rebel. In spite of all these, he was not discouraged. Instead, he continued to preach and heal his generation.

We must not be afraid to carry out our prophetic ministries in spite of the odds against us. Rather, we are to bear them

patiently so that good might triumph over evil, truth over lie, light over darkness and, peace over war. “Where there is no [prophetic] vision the people perish.” (Prov 29:18). We are all called to be that visionary prophet to our ailing generation.
Peace be with you!
I wish you all a grace filled Sunday!!

May the Light of Christ who is our peace and salvation be always with you. Amen.

Fr. Joe Mungai raising money to get water to his village in Africa. Please read A Deep Down Thirst

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