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Who Is a Prophet Today? Pope Francis’ Simple Explanation

Some 15,000 people accompanied the Pope in praying the Angelus on Sunday, July 2, the Holy Father’s last massive-public appearance before his usual rest every year. After his address and the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Bishop of Rome exhorted not to tire “of praying for peace, especially for the Ukrainian people, so tried. And let’s not neglect the other wars, unfortunately often forgotten  and the numerous conflicts and confrontations that fill with blood many parts of the Earth; there are so many wars today . . . Let us be interested in what is happening, let us help those suffering and let us pray, because prayer is the gentle force that protects and sustains the world.” 

Here is the full text of the Pontiff’s Sunday address. He took as basis the Readings of Sunday, July 2. 

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In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew what type of prophet? There are some who imagine a prophet to be some type of magician who foretells the future. But this is a superstitious idea and a Christian does not believe in superstitions, such as magic, tarot cards, horoscopes and other similar things. In parentheses, many, many Christians go to have their palms read  . . .  Please . . .  Others depict a prophet as a character from the past only, who existed before Christ to foretell His coming. And yet, Jesus Himself speaks today of the need to welcome prophets. Therefore, they still exist. But who are they? Who is a prophet?

Each one of us, brothers and sisters, is a prophet. In fact, with Baptism, all of us received the gift of the prophetic mission (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1268). A prophet is one who, by virtue of Baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit. This is very important: to read the present not like news, no . . . to read it as enlightened and under the action of the Holy Spirit, who helps to understand God’s plans and correspond to them. In other words, the prophet is the one who points Jesus out to others, who bears witness to Him, who helps live today and to build the future according to His designs. So we are all prophets, witnesses of Jesus, so “that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in daily in social and family life” (Lumen Gentium, 35). A prophet is a living sign who points God out to others. A prophet is a reflection of Christ’s light on the path of brothers and sisters. And so, we can ask ourselves: Do I, — each one of us — Do I, who am “a prophet by election” through Baptism, do I speak, and above all, do I live as a witness of Jesus? Do I bring a little bit of His light into the life of another person? Do I evaluate myself on this? I ask myself: What is my bearing witness like, what is my prophecy like?

In the Gospel, the Lord also asks to welcome the prophets. So it is important to welcome each other as such, as bearers of God’s message, each one according to his state and vocation, and to do it right where we live — that is, in the family, in the parish, in the religious community, in other places in the Church and in society. The Spirit has distributed gifts of prophecy in the holy People of God. This is why it is good to listen to everyone. For example, when an important decision needs to be made — let us think about this — it is good to pray first of all, to call on the Spirit, but then to listen and dialogue trusting that each person, even the littlest, because they have something important to say, a prophetic gift to share. Thus, the truth is sought and the climate is spread of listening to God and our brothers and sisters where people do not feel welcome because they say what I like, but they feel accepted and valued as the gifts they are.

Let us reflect on how many conflicts could be avoided and resolved in this way, listening to others with the sincere desire to understand each other! So, finally, let us ask ourselves: Do I know how to welcome my brothers and sisters as prophetic gifts? Do I believe that I need them? Do I listen to them respectfully, with the desire to learn? Because each of us needs to learn from others. Each of us needs to learn from others.

May Mary, Queen of Prophets, help us see and welcome the good that the Spirit has sown in others.