Step Three - Be a Prophet

The key to hearing the words of Christ is to accept ourselves as the body of Christ. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice." He said it in answer to his enemies’ demand, "If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus said two things about faith: "The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me" and "You do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice."

 

To really "hear" Christ’s words; that is, to understand them, to hear them in a way that enables us to follow him authentically and to experience Jesus as giving us life (10:27-28), we have to listen to him, conscious that we are Christ. His words are the revelation of his self, and his self is the revelation of what we are called to be. We are his body; he is the head, we are the members. We received grace in order to let Christ be formed in us (Galatians 4:19), to grow as his body to "the full stature of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). We can only understand Christ’s words if we listen to them conscious that Jesus is revealing what he is in order to show us what we are called to be. If we think he is only teaching us a human level of perfection, his words will be unintelligible to us. We have to know what we are before we can hear what we should do. This is to "be Christ’s sheep."

 

Jesus revealed himself through actions as well as words: "The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me." He was "a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people" (Luke 24:19). A prophet is one who professes the faith in a way made credible by action. And to really win faith, the actions have to be such that they can only be done by the power of grace. St. Paul said God worked through him "by word and deed..., by the power of the Spirit of God" (Romans 15:18-19). Prophetic deeds are God’s words made flesh in action. Jesus said of himself absolutely, "The Father and I are one." Our actions have to say of us that, by the gift of sharing in his divine life, Jesus and we are one.


We were baptized into Christ the Prophet, Priest and King. We were anointed with chrism to share in his anointing and in his mission. We were commissioned and empowered by God to continue his embodiment of the truth of God as prophets, his life-giving ministry of love as priests, his efforts to establish the reign of God in the world as stewards of his kingship.


To be prophets, we have to "hear his voice," his living voice. It is not enough just to keep the laws already established and recognized in the Church; we have to be receptive to the inspirations of the Spirit pointing out to us how the general principles Jesus taught apply to the concrete circumstances of our own time and place. It is when we begin to live out the Gospel in new, creative and innovative ways that we reveal the active presence of Christ’s Spirit in our hearts and ourselves as his living body on earth.


In practice, we accept to be prophets when we commit ourselves to a life of continual conversion; that is, to making constant changes in our lifestyle. We determine never to ask again just whether something is right or wrong, but how it bears witness to the good news of Jesus. As we try, systematically but freely, gradually and without guilt, to make everything in our lives bear witness to the values, the truth Jesus taught, we reveal the presence of the risen Jesus within us. We experience ourselves as his body, enlightened and enlivened by his Spirit. And we know the truth of his words, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life..." This is what it is to live out and experience our baptismal consecration as prophets.

 

 

QUESTIONS

 

  • What do you aim at in your prayer? What do you hope to get from it?

 

  • What kind of prayer would help you — gradually — make everything in your life and lifestyle bear witness to the truth and values Jesus teaches? Could you start praying like that right now? If not, who could help you?

 

  • Could you decide to start making changes in your lifestyle and continue doing it until everything in your life bears witness to the values of Christ? Could you promise God right now that you will start making changes?

 

  • How can you see your life changing if you begin to ask consistently, not "Is this right or wrong?" but "How would this bear witness to Christ’s values?" Think of some concrete examples of things that would change.

 

 

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS: Try some of these to get started.

 

  • Change can be hard. Try shopping at a different grocery store. Or taking a different route to work, sit in a different place in Church, buy a magazine you’ve never read before or eat at a new restaurant. Do something different just to get used to change.

 

  • List the last four or five changes you have made in your life and ask "Why did I make this change?" "Does it bear witness to Christ?"

 

  • Every time you take out your checkbook, credit card or wallet ask if this use of your money bears witness to Christ.

 

  • Everytime you "hop in your car" to go somewhere, ask if this trip is a Christian use of your time, energy and gasoline.

 

  • When you look at your watch, ask yourself if your use of time is bearing witness to Christ.

 

  • Put a cross on your TV and ask yourself how the programs you are watching bear witness to Christ.

 

  • Read a newspaper or magazine or watch some sort of news program and come to a stance about each story. Is what is happening bearing witness? Is there something happening that is so good you want to be a part of it, or something so bad you feel compelled to fight against it?

 

  • Find a way to get involved. Join an organization, volunteer, show up at protests, write letters of support, write your congressman, pray for those involved.

 

  • Everyday pick an item in your house (couch, computer, painting, clock, telephone, bookshelf, etc) and ask how that item bears witness to Christ.

 

SUPPORT MATERIALS

Fr. Knight's books (see Book Store) that relate to Step 3 of the Immersed in Christ plan include: 

 

  • His Way: Chapters Five and Six: Conversion to connecting Christianity to life

  • Reaching Jesus: Step Three: The Choice to be a Prophet

  • The Five Promises of Baptism: “The Third Promise: Empowerment”

  • Five Steps to the Father: “Phrase, Phase Three: Thy Kingdom Come Dedication

  • Nuts and Bolts of Daily Spirituality, Chapter Four: “Never Ask Again”

  • Living the Sacraments: Chapters Six and Seven: Confirmation and Christian Maturity

  • Experiencing the Mass: The Third Moment of Mystery: “The Presentation of Gifts”

  • A Fresh Look at Confession: Chapter Three: “The Sacrament of the Spirit”

  • Mary in an Adult Church: Chapter One: “Mother of God”

  • Saving Presence (from the Series on Matthew’s Gospel: whole book

 

© 2014 - 2018  by Immersed in Christ. All rights preserved.

Immersed in Christ is a 501 (c) (3) Charitable Organization.

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