The Prophet’s Proof Is Peace
SATURDAY, first week of Easter
The Responsorial Psalm gives us one source of the assurance we need to have if we are going to stand up as prophets in spite of rejection and opposition: “I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me” (Psalm 118).
The whole Psalm is a hymn of confidence based on the experience of calling on God and being rescued. What gives confidence to prophets is the experience of following inspirations that were proven — by their fruits, usually — to have been true.
Acts 4: 13-21 shows us Peter and John standing up to the highest authorities in Israel, daring them to tell them whether “it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God.”
This is a scary position to take. The Jewish authorities were established by God. It was a religious duty to obey them, and the only justification for disobedience would be an assurance that their command was contrary to God’s. The Apostles had this assurance, based on a conviction that Jesus had sent them to proclaim the Good News (Matthew 10:7; 28: 18-20): “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” Where does our assurance come from?
In Mark 16: 9-15 we see Christ’s messengers being rejected by the highest authorities in Christ’s own Church. The risen Jesus sent Mary Magdalen to the Apostles, “but when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.” He then sent the two disciples he had joined on the road to Emmaus, “but they did not believe them” either. But God vindicated his messengers. Jesus “appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.” (Add Galatians 2: 1-14).
If the Apostles themselves would not believe the eyewitnesses Jesus sent to them, should we be surprised if Church authorities are slow to accept the insights of the prophets in the Church today? Prophets must expect rejection and even hostility as normal. They must be prepared to accept this with peaceful and loving hearts. They don’t have to prove they are right; God will do that. He does it especially by confirming with peace in their hearts the truth they live out in action. “I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.” Prophets simply have to proclaim the truth with peace — and live it peacefully themselves.
Initiative: Be a prophet. Combine courage with love. Be ready to accept rejection and hostility — even from authorities — without withdrawing faith, loyalty or love. When you take a stance that is radical, look for the confirmation of interior peace.