“Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” This is the wish Moses expressed in today’s First Reading, when Joshua reported to him that Eldad and Medad were prophesying when they had been chosen as elders, but had not been present for the commissioning ceremony. Nevertheless the Spirit of God had descended upon them and they were prophesying.
Moses’ wish is fulfilled in us: we have all been commissioned as prophets. When an infant is baptized, the priest anoints the child’s head with sacred chrism, saying: “Almighty God…now anoints you with the Chrism of salvation, so that you may remain as a member of Christ, Priest, Prophet and King, unto eternal life.” This anointing signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will be completed or sealed with the anointing with sacred chrism again in confirmation. As members of Christ’s body, the Church, we share in his royal, prophetic priesthood. It is our baptismal vocation to “prophesy” by proclaiming our faith in word and deed.
Faith is a way of life, a relationship with God. When parents present children for baptism, they are exhorted to train them in the practice of the faith, “so that, keeping God’s commandments, they may love the Lord and their neighbor as Christ taught us.” May we all be truly prophetic in our practice of the faith.
The consequences of not practicing our faith are presented in both our Second Reading and Gospel: God will render a judgment of condemnation. Faith is a gift; it is not to be squandered. Two weeks ago Saint James taught us that faith without works is dead. One who claims to be a believer but does not practice the faith will not live in the presence of God. By contrast the servant of God who diligently keeps God’s precepts will be blameless, innocent and wise. (Cf. Responsorial Psalm) If this is our goal in this world, it will be rewarded in the world to come.
As mentioned last week, Father Bernard Olszewski is visiting our parishes this weekend to speak at all the Masses on behalf of Cross Catholic Outreach, which was founded to create a meaningful link between parishes in America and the priests and nuns working in the Church overseas in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Central and South America. I am away, attending the annual meeting and investiture of the North Central Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in Cincinnati. I along with Mary and Jerry Kuehl are members. Our mission is to uphold the Christians and Christian shrines in the Holy Land by prayer and financial support.
Next Sunday, the first Sunday of October, is Respect Life Sunday in the United States. You may wish to participate in the Life Chain next Sunday in Eau Claire from 2:00 to 3:30 PM. Gather in the parking lot at Regis High School to receive signs, then stand in silent and prayerful witness to the dignity of human life along South Hastings Way. More information is in this week’s bulletin.
Pray the rosary again this week for people affected or displaced by devastating storms, floods and wildfires; for Afghan refugees and those left facing the reality of living under a brutal regime; for people serving in the armed forces from our community; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.