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WOF Radio > Sermons > Sermon Archive for 2009 > Sermon 455 : Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet : 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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    Sermon 455 : Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet : 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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    Our first reading from the Book of Numbers and the Gospel reading from Mark both highlight a very interesting spiritual predicament, one that is presented numerous times throughout the Bible. It might be summed up as the inclination for members of the Church to subvert the mission of the Church because of their own ego driven desires and pre-occupations.
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Although I utterly agree with you about trying to avoid petty disagreements within the community of the church and to resist to confront others activities and accomplishments that let us to be unnoticed but help God's work; I wonder that if we allow everybody to act as prophets, people would eventually get out of church because they can be their own prophets. The clergy would miss its entire purpose. And also, despite the fact that in the New Testament there is several passages about false prophets, we know that to recognize them is not an easy job.
I'm a Brazilian, and in Brazil there are many independent protestant churches being founded every year. Most of them have clearly evangelic goals, others, not so much. But who am I to decide? Even in the Catholic church there are a lot of people who choose the path of their own christian religion and try to persuade others to do so. So how are we to decide who is actually doing God's work?
Not everybody who claims to be doing God's work is actually doing God's work. It's is very difficult to say that somebody is not "against us" when they use Biblical passages and teachings to spread their own interpretations.
Sure, everybody have the potentiality to be prophets. However, wouldn't it be the job of the clergy, as people who have been through serious theological studies, to decide and to ponder the message of the "prophet" and thus, if reasonable, support and insert this person into the organization of the church, like your mentor priest did to you?
Thank you of Word on Fire. It has truly inspired me.
God be with you
9/23/2009 9:24:48 PM
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Ray Yo*****
Words of wisdom that we all need to hear!
9/25/2009 9:28:40 PM
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Giovanni Secchi
Thank you, Fr. Robert! - For several weeks, the Sunday Gospel readings have been dealing above all with the question, how to be a real and good follower of Christ and what it involves. This time, your very helpful explanation sumarises the core message by the statement: "What matters is: doing the mission of the Church." That is what Jesus is emphasising in the bible passage this time.- I have reflected on it. Indeed, we must always keep in mind, what the compass of our Faith is pointing to: As our focus, we have to promote the Gospel, to love God and our neighbours and to serve God's Kingdom, so that it can expand, as it says in the Catechism, §863:

"[...] All members of the Church share in this [[->apostolic]] mission, though in various ways. The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth."

Mere human earthly, attitudes like envy, jealousy (hidden behind formalistic pretexts) are sinful and impede the true objective. Jesus Christ is centre stage. "Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the family of God. [...]" (Catech §542).

BUT now, I must admit that I totally share the concern of Aurelius. The Gospel text is zooming to the criterion of being faithful - but within this frame, a side glance to the aspects of obedience and authority is permitted and reasonable. Both are discussed in other bible passages anyway. Even listening to the proclaimed Gospel in the liturgical assembly and doing it in an assentive and reverential manner and saying "Amen" and "Halleluia" to it from the bottom of our heart, even that is already an act of faith, realised through God's grace, by understanding and OBEYING the authority of God and His Church. We listen to God and His Church and we obey (linkage also reflected in the languagees, gr. "akoúein" -> "hypakoúein"; , lat. "audire" -> "oboedire"; , hebr. "shama'" [both notions in one word]). To obey our Lord means to trust Him and the co-workers He has chosen to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15-17). In the letter to the Smyrnaeans (Ch.8), St. Ignatius of Antioch underlines the special (apostolic) authority of the bishops in the Church.

The Apostle John sees a separation, where threre is actually none. The problem nowadays is that separations within the Church are growing, i.e. movements that are in opposition to the teachings of the Church; some people effecitvely ridicule the holiness of the liturgy, etc.

No surprise, as the Church consits of sinners (see Catech.§827, Matt 13:24-30; see also St. Augustine's thoughts on that).

In 1Cor 3:3-7, 9
The Apostle Paul puts it all together so wonderfully.

"[...] For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? 4 For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apol'los," are you not merely men?
5 What then is Apol'los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
6 I planted, Apol'los watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." [...] v.9: "For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."

Both men are serving on God's field that is entrusted to them, and the one is planting and the other is watering, but God makes it all grow. They are both authorised to administer, but the WHOLE new creation (including all) is graced by God. The authority given (to some) by God and God's grace (for all) go together and belong to ONE (liturgical) coherence.
(( The imagery reminds me of two terms in Gen 2:15, where Adam is entrusted the garden of Eden and he has to till it ["avad", meaning also: to serve] and to keep it ["shamar", meaning also: to guard/honour]."
[both terms in Num 3:7, in the context of liturgical service by the Levites] ))
9/27/2009 1:57:30 AM
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Karen Genest
I hear Father Barron saying that we do not need to leave our spiritual home, the Church, in order to follow the spirit. Within the Church, we must be vigilant, watching and listening for the movement of the spirit who will move where He wishes. Any of us who offer our lives to Christ can be a prophet bringing in a message for others in the community.
9/27/2009 2:13:20 PM
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Diego Maratta
"Deo gratias!" for Fr. Robert.
"What matters is the Mission!"
Would that all the Lord's people were Prophets...!"
To Aurelius' comments I would respectfully respond, if I may, that the true Prophets in the Catholic Church can be recognized by their humility and obedience to the Shepherds, Pope and Bishops united with him and to our priests united to our Pope. This is the beauty of our Catholic Church: unity around the Vicar of Christ.
Deacon Diego
9/27/2009 6:12:19 PM
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on your website, i am not able to find the buttons to hear fr. barron. are you updating? thank you
10/2/2009 8:31:24 AM
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Yelva Montes Berry
Thank you Father Barron. God bless you!
9/30/2012 5:37:17 PM
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Dan Kennedy
I still can't get the play button to appear so I can hear the homilies. I'm so looking forward to them. I tell many patients how wonderful this preaching is.
Thank you.
12/2/2012 8:19:26 AM
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