It is not easy to be a prophet who speaks the word of God to others. The prophet Jonah ran away from God when he was first asked to preach repentance to the great city of Nineveh. The prophet Moses accused himself before God that he was not gifted with the gift of public speaking. The prophet Jeremiah had a better excuse before God saying, I am a young child and that older people may not listen to him. ‘But the Lord told him: “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ For to everyone I send you, you must go, and all that I command you, you must speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” Jer 1:7-8). It is God who makes a non-prophet to become a prophet who is ultimately a messenger of God. In the Old Testament, mostly the prophets brought the message of God to the authority figures first, the kings, the official servants of God who were derailing off from the way of righteousness of God and copied the comfortable ways of the pagans. Thus, the messages of the prophets could be unbelievable, offensive, religious, anonymous and mysterious. As a result, most prophets were terminated or imprisoned by the hands of their authority which was sometimes due to the pressure from their own people too.
Nevertheless, a prophet is normally a liberator of God’s chosen people. For example, Moses led the people out of Egypt, because there was racism and religious persecution in the land. The Book of Exodus gives us the reality that any male born son to the house of the Hebrews was to be terminated by the ordered midwives of Pharaoh, but not the male born of the Egyptians. Another example is of Jonah who preached to the people of Nineveh and the whole city was saved from God’s disaster.
For us too, through baptism, each of us has already been made a prophet of God in Christ. So, if we are serious about this, we may ask ourselves, ‘what is God’s message for me? and to whom should I go to?’
Fr. Tien Cao