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July 5th - Prophetic Call: Comfortable being Uncomfortable

What does it mean to be a prophet? It’s sort of a strange title, but not many knew about being a prophet than Venerable Fulton J Sheen. He’s sort of the pioneer of what it means to be a prophet in modern times. He embraced his gifts of wisdom and speech, and used them to bring the truth and love of God to millions of people. From 1930-1968, Fulton Sheen would bravely go where few Catholics had gone before him. He would host radio and television programs simply about what it meant to be people of faith in an increasingly secular world. Strangely enough, despite him being a priest and a bishop… and despite him dressing like one, many Catholics and Non-Catholics alike would anxiously await for his next radio or television program. Why? Because he spoke about the Truth of God. He was comfortable being uncomfortable.

There’s a common thread we can string between our three readings today – the call to be prophets. In our first reading, Ezekiel receives revelation from God about going to a people who have had their hearts hardened to His message. Jesus too enters into a town that has hardened their hearts so much that they do not recognize the Christ standing in their midst. They let their blindness obstruct themselves from seeing that this boy they’ve seen grow up in their midst has accepted His calling to be the Christ. And even in Saint Paul’s case in our second reading, he too explains that he has encountered many trials. But why the trials? Because they are encountering a culture that has hardened itself from the truth.

When we think of prophets, we might not so much think about St. Paul or Jesus. We might think to ourselves about the prophets who came before Christ. Even John the Baptist was considered by Jesus as the greatest of the prophets. Do you remember what scripture says about John the Baptist? He dressed in camel skin clothing and ate locusts and wild honey. He certainly was not an ordinary fella. But why were people drawn to him? In the early Church there were folks called the Desert Fathers who literally lived in the desert in order to remove themselves from the distractions of culture. Why did people seek them out in the middle of the Desert? It is because deep down inside, we desire to know the truth. 

We often distract ourselves so much from the truth. Even when we know the truth, we come up with excuses to move away from the truth. But the call of the prophet is our calling as well. When we were Baptized, we were Baptized as priest, prophet, and king. If the message of truth sounds weird, well then you’re on the right path. Sometimes being a prophet means you will look strange or sound strange. But are we comfortable with looking and sounding strange for Christ?

Sometimes the culture will try to pull you away from the Truth of Christ because of the strangeness of His message. But this is because culture doesn’t know that truth is not a thing, but a person – the person of Christ. Truth is not factoids we find on the internet, but it is a relationship with our God. This relationship calls us to be comfortable with uncomfortability.

Jesus today asks us, “who do you say that I am?” We answer this question by the way we live our lives. Will we live uncomfortably for the one who did it for us --- who did it for us on the Cross?