Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 3, 2019)

St. Francis de Sales reminds us that God’s words to Jeremiah are words said to us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”

God loves us immensely, and he has a plan for each of us. God gave us a share in Jesus’ ministry as prophet in our baptism. We have been appointed to remind those around us that God loves all of us and has redeemed us for himself through the blood of Jesus. Because we are baptized, we are called to live in a prophetic way.

We Oblates, as professed religious, have accepted an additional prophetic role. By living faithfully as poor, chaste and obedient men in community, we are to remind our brothers and sisters that God’s great desire for union with us extends beyond our earthly life into eternal life. Letting Jesus live in us each day keeps us focused on God’s loving presence and his desire to be one with us. We Oblates are called to live in a prophetic way.

St. Paul reminds us that love – God’s love within us – is the foundation of our prophetic way of living. When we allow ourselves to be fully embraced by God’s love, then God’s love can overflow into the world around us.

God’s love within us will show itself in our willingness to be patient and kind, our willingness to put others’ interests before our own, our willingness to put up with the faults and failings of others. We will be better able to control our anger and choose not to brood over injuries real or imagined. Because we believe that God is present and working in all the events of our day, we are better able to see the possibilities for good and better able to accept the challenges and disappointments of life with a peaceful heart.

Jesus warns us that prophets are not always welcomed and accepted, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we aren’t. We must learn each day to choose to focus again on God’s ever-present, unconditional love and ask for the grace to respond faithfully by loving.

Whenever we feel a little discouraged in our efforts to be faithful prophets, let us place confident hope in the words of St. Paul: “At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present we know partially; then we shall know fully, as we are fully known” by our God. Let us ask for the grace to be a gentle and humble prophet today.