Lay Life in a Year

52 Reflections on JPII's vision for the Laity

Week 20 : Prophetic Mission

Ezekiel cooked his food over cow poop to symbolize the defiled food the Israelites would eat in exile (Ezekiel 4:12-15). 

John the Baptist ate locusts. 

And as a way to show how Israel failed to cling to Him, God told Jeremiah to buy some underwear, wear it, then hide it in some rocks, only to retrieve it later and find it ruined (Jer. 13:1-11).

The prophets are bizarre. So much so that they can be a little intimidating or even outright confusing. In our Baptism we are anointed priest, PROPHET, and king, but are we really supposed to do wild and unbelievable things? Is that what being a prophet means? 

The word prophet comes from the Greek pro-phetes which means “to speak on behalf of someone” and biblically this is taken up to mean “speaking in the name of God”. 

What makes Ezekiel, John the Baptist, and Jeremiah prophets then isn’t the extraordinary things they did, but the fact that they spoke in the name of God. In fact, their bizarre actions were only valuable BECAUSE they were speaking in the name of God. 

When the Church says that we participate in the prophetic mission, it simply means that we have the responsibility of speaking on behalf of God by proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed and denouncing evil. And John Paul II tells us that this happens in every part of life, not just the extreme extraordinary moments. 

The couple struggling to get pregnant who patiently refuse a doctor’s suggestion to do IVF, a Catholic teacher that upholds Church Teaching even if it ruffles feathers, a family who chooses to live frugally despite the consumerist mindset of the modern age—all of this is the prophetic mission. 

It may not appear extraordinary, but it is the Gospel being lived with love in a way that contradicts the present age… and that is always extraordinary.

Lay Life in a Year Overview

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Week 19: The Sacrifice of Spilled Cereal

It was a hard morning with the kids. The oldest didn’t listen and spilled his cereal all over the floor. I was upset, but surprisingly, my wife wasn’t. She refilled his bowl, patted him on the head, and then quietly got down on her knees to clean up his mess. It was...

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Week 18: Continuing Christ’s Mission

You may have heard St. Paul’s shocking words: “We make up for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ.” (Col. 1:24) Is he saying Jesus isn’t enough? It’s a bit like when my 4 year old helps me cook. Well, he feels like he’s helping, but mostly I let him add some...

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Week 17: Being Christ In The World

Charles was an older man who spent the whole day working with us on a project. It was touching how often things reminded him of his wife. Flowers he brought to their first date, the time she was in the hospital for a week, and her kindness, joy, and patience. After 55...

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