28 February 2010
2nd Sunday of Lent (C) – 28 February 2010
Readings: Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14; Phil 3:20-4:1; Lk 9:28b-36
The Transfiguration event contains the transfiguration of Jesus, the apparition of Elijah and Moses, a message from the Father, and the religious experience of Peter, James and John.
The narrative of the event is rich in symbols. The transfigured Christ prophesies the glory of the Resurrection. The presence of Elijah and Moses solidifies the identity of Christ as Son of God, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and the fullness of the law. The high mountain, the cloud and the voice of God are traditional Jewish symbols of God’s presence.
What about the disciples? They represent us. They fall asleep despite their initial efforts to join Jesus in prayer, oblivious to the great event that is unfolding around them. When they awaken to the great spectacle before them, they could not hide their lack of understanding of what is going on. And then, they are expected to take in everything, keep it a secret until the divine embargo is lifted, and basically put ALL their trust in Jesus.
We are weak yet trusted; unfaithful to our promises yet rewarded with grace beyond telling. This is how God relates to us.
The Transfiguration event is a story about the God who intervenes in history, who makes promises and keeps them. God promises to transform Abraham from a childless wanderer to the father of many nations. God forges a covenant with Abraham to make his descendants God’s people, and He their God.
Another promise of transformation is found in Phil 3,21 (the Second Reading). St. Paul assures us that Jesus “will transform our lowly body to conform with his glorified body”. The Transfiguration event sends the promise of meaningful change, of transformation.
The Transfiguration of Christ is also about us: how we take for granted many times God’s love and grace manifesting in our everyday lives; how we fail to understand, forget, even distrust, all the many signs and invitations for transformation, healing and union with God.
Because of our weak nature and limited understanding, God’s call to transformation needs to undergo a process, a journey. The 40 days of Lent is itself a period of spiritual journey, a going back to God. Our journey of transformation from sin to grace, from death to life, from darkness to light, from the old person to the new, happens for as long as we heed God's voice from the cloud: "This is my chosen Son; listen to him" (Lk 9,35).
Listening to Jesus means not just appreciating the beauty of His words, but making them effective in our lives. It means following his life of prayer and obedience to the Father.
We can never overemphasize the value of prayer. Jesus went up the mountain, not to be transfigured but to pray. Prayer is our connection with God. When we pray we open our hearts to God’s transforming presence.
St. Teresa of Avila writes: “It is impossible for a person who prays regularly to remain in serious sin; because the two are incompatible, one or the other will have to be given up.” The desire to pray is the first step to transformation.
2. Obedience to the Will of the Father.
This is the natural consequence of prayer. By obedience we do not mean the kind exacted by a master to his servant, but the bond of trust between a father and child. The child obeys knowing that his father wants only the best for him.
Let me tell you a story...
After doing so many things and going to many places, an adventurer embarked on his greatest quest so far. He was searching for his life's meaning and for peace of mind. His quest finally brought him to an aged holy man sitting under the shadow of a great tree.
The holy man asked him: "You came looking for meaning and peace mind? Come sit here with me in the shadow of this great tree." The adventurer sat with him.
The holy man continued: "The trouble with modern man is that he fills his life with troubles and confusion. These are represented by his shadow. Man wants to escape his troubles. What does he do? He walks faster. Failing to rid himself of his shadow, he walks even faster, and then runs, which just makes him more tired, confused and angry. And still unable to rid himself of his shadow. Now I would like to ask you: Do you still see your shadow?"
The adventurer looked around and didn't find it. After all, he was sitting under the shade of a great tree.
The holy man concluded: "If you wish to find your life's meaning and acquire peace of mind, surrender yourself to the One who is greater than all your fears."
This is what obedience is about. Problems will still crop up, troubles may still abound, but we do not despair anymore. We are not prevented to life life to the full. For we are under the shadow of the Almighty. St. Paul in Rom 8,31 says: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
After their mountain experience, Jesus and his closest friends will come down to face the terrible period of suffering and pain that lies ahead. The disciples may not know it yet but God has just given them spiritual food for the difficult journey they have to make. At their lowest moments they will remember this privileged encounter and be sustained with hope.
St. Paul sums up the lesson of the Transfiguration when he says in Rom 8,18: "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us."
21 February 2010
1st Sunday of Lent (C) – 21 February 2010
Readings: Dt 26:4-10; Ps 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13
The Gospel on the First Sunday of Lent tells the story of how Jesus was tempted by Satan. The story also foretells who the Son of Man will become and what His mission will be.
Thus, Jesus will not be a benevolent patron who offers instant gratification or promises overnight solution to hunger, poverty, injustice, and all other problems of humanity. He will not be a powerful tyrant who demands submission from people in order to bring about peace and prosperity. He will not be a populist showbiz ruler who dazzles his subjects with eloquence and miracles.
Instead Jesus will model compassion, gentleness and humility. He will be a faithful prophet who will meet death like all true prophets before and after him. He will be a servant king who eats with sinners and washes His disciples’ feet. He will be a priest who makes Himself an offering so His friends may live.
Heb 4,15 says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” As Jesus was tempted in every way, so will it be with us His disciples. As He was strengthened and informed by His triumph over temptations, so will it be with us.
What is the nature of temptation? Temptations are generally deceptions. Satan – whose name means “the deceiver” – wishes to distract us from our mission, confuse us from finding true happiness (or true love), stop us from discovering our real self, and draw us away from the source of life.
The devil does not ask us outright to do evil things, rather he persuades us to see a semblance of good in the things he tempt us with. It’s not about Adam and Eve disobeying God, it’s about their becoming like God. It’s not about Jesus getting distracted from His mission, it’s about Him doing an innocuously simple thing: turning stone to bread. After all he would be turning water into wine in a little while.
The problem with making “small” moral concessions “for a greater good” is that it makes the heart and mind comfortable with falling into little temptations, and paves the way for even bigger transgressions.
It’s the classic frog in a boiling water analogy. Drop a frog in boiling water and it will immediately react to save itself. Drop a frog in normal water, slowly heat it, and the frog won’t know it is being cooked till it is too helpless to save itself. This is how temptation works.
Let us identify some temptations -- which are deceptions really -- that we face today.
1. The temptation to choose the good over the better.
It is so tempting to choose the easy way and fall for the fake sense of contentment brought by blissful mediocrity. Mediocrity in spirit is the one great obstacle to being formed according to the image of God.
2. The temptation not to care.
Because loving makes us risk getting hurt and dreaming exposes us to failure and disappointment, and so apathy and simply living in the moment (forget about tomorrow!) seem to be the way to go. Then again, there is no other way to happiness but to love truthfully. You cannot truly love unless you are willing to take the risk of getting hurt.
3. The temptation to exercise power without accountability.
History and literature is replete with lessons on how unbridled power corrupts the best of intentions. A modern management dictum says: “Systems of accountability are in place to keep honest people remain honest.” It is a good rule to keep for those of us entrusted with responsibilities.
4. The temptation to equate happiness with absolute freedom.
Many people are fixated with an idea of freedom as being able to do what I want when I want to. They link their happiness to the achievement of this ideal, and resent any authority – government, religion, even God – who sets limits on what they can and cannot do. Sadly, they will only be disappointed. There is no absolute freedom in the first place. It is part of our nature to be limited, weak and prone to overstep boundaries especially when there are no clear markers. Ironically, there is a sense of liberation in accepting our limits. After all, it is our weak and limited nature that God assumed in order to save us.
5. The temptation to carve God in our own image.
Today the cult of the self has grown even stronger. Industries have been built to satisfy every imaginable vanity and desires of the flesh. The idea of God is accepted/tolerated for as long as it promotes the well-being of the self. There are those who think they can be simply “spiritual” or “saved” without belonging to the community of believers. There are those who think they can be moral while choosing only the precepts that are convenient to them. They carve an idol according to their own image and call him God.
6. The temptation to rely solely on our own strength.
This is the devil’s favorite. By perpetuating a culture that glorifies the self-made, self-sufficient person, we are lulled into assuming we can combat temptation by ourselves, or deal with our addictions our way, or change for the better by sheer willpower. It is when we think we are strong on our own accord that we are most vulnerable.
The whole season of Lent is a graced time to look inwards, examine our relationship with God, and review our lives in the light of the Gospel. As we reflect upon our inner demons may we also rediscover our graced self, the one redeemed by Christ, the one who longed to live in the life of God.
Heb 2,18 says: “Because (Jesus) himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”
As we battle our temptations, we know that we are not alone. We have Christ with us. St. Paul cries out in Phil 4,13: “I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me!”
14 February 2010
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – 14 February 2010
Readings: Jer 17:5-8; Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20; Lk 6:17, 20-26
The Gospel today contains Jesus’ “sermon on the plain”. This is Luke’s version of the “beatitudes” mentioned in Mt 5,1-12.
In Matthew, Jesus speaks on a mount imparting wisdom from on high. The people look up to him as students to their teacher. In Luke, He does his teaching on the plain, in the midst of the people, also imparting divine wisdom yet stressing more His being one with them, knowing their concerns and speaking about their condition. Luke doesn’t spiritualize much. In his version Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor”, compared to Matthew’s “Blessed are the poor in spirit”.
There are only four beatitudes in this Gospel passage, and four “woes”, four contrary propositions. Thus, the poor are called blessed and not the rich; the hungry are blessed, not the well-fed; the sorrowing, not the joyful; the unpopular, not the well-esteemed.
Now we ask: What is wrong with being rich, or well-fed, or happy or popular?
This teaching does need some explanation to avoid the misconception advanced by certain secular commentators, and erroneously held even by some people of faith, that Christianity/Catholicism or God wants the faithful to remain poor and dependent so as to keep the faith. This is simply not true. God certainly doesn’t want His people to wallow in poverty, hunger, sorrow or alienation.
A key to understanding this set of beatitudes and woes is a text written hundreds of years before the Gospel of Luke: the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah (the First Reading).
Jer 17,5: “Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD.”
Jer 17,7-8: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.”
The words of the prophet raise two basic issues: “Where do you put your trust?” and “What is most important to you?”
If you put your trust in riches, what if they were taken away from you? Would you lose hope and say everything is lost?
Blessed are you if you don’t root your entire life on material wealth.
If you put your trust in your capacity to provide for your family, what if you become incapacitated, dependent upon others for help? Would you lose the drive to live and be happy?
Blessed are you if you don’t ground your life in your own strength.
If you put your trust on things that bring you joy, what if you are asked to face something difficult that needs to be done? Would you rather shirk from the responsibility and stay in the safety of your comfort zone?
Blessed are you if you are not afraid to take the risk of getting hurt in order to live life to the full.
If you put your trust in your good name, what if you become unpopular or hated on account of your faith? Would you become bitter in your relationships?
Blessed are you if you don’t put your faith in the approval of others.
A short story for Valentine’s Day…
A young wife met an accident while driving their brand new car. While she was generally unhurt, the car sustained some damage. Wild thoughts were racing in her mind about the cost of the repairs, the extent of the insurance coverage, how her husband would react to the news, and a host of other worries. When she opened the envelop that contained the pertinent documents concerning the car, she found on top a handwritten note from her husband: “Honey, in case of accident, remember: It is you that I love and is most important to me… not the car.”
What are the things that are most important to you?
It pays to know what is most important to us so we know why we do the things we do. St. Ignatius of Loyola proposes precisely this when he introduces his way of prayer by a contemplation on what he calls “First Principle and Foundation”:
“Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. This is his goal in life.
The other things on earth are created to help him in attaining this goal. Hence, man is to make use of them when they serve this purpose, and rid himself of them when they prove a hindrance to him.
Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, riches or poverty, honor or dishonor, a long life or a short life. The same holds for all other things.
Our one desire and choice should be what helps us more to attain our goal.”
Further, the saintly Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, has this to say:
"There is nothing more practical than finding God, that is than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, what you know that breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything."
Ps 40,5 (the response to Psalm today) says: "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord". If we are serving the Lord, how can we go wrong? If God is with us, who can prevail over us?
Blessed are they who love God enough to put their entire trust in Him. They will receive blessings from Him since they are open to His grace. This is the sum of the beatitudes.
Are we ready to live by them or do they just remain words to live by?
07 February 2010
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – 7 February 2010
Readings: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11; Lk 5:1-11
The Gospel this Sunday recounts the story of the call of Simon and his partners, the brothers James and John, after a miraculous fish catch. Jesus told Simon (Peter) the iconic words: “from now on you will be catching men” (Lk 5,10).
The same theme of being called by God is found in the other two readings: that of Isaiah in the First Reading and of St. Paul in the Second. There is even a common pattern that runs through all three vocation stories.
1. First, God reveals Himself in an extraordinary experience of grace.
2. This evokes feelings of awe, and also sinfulness and unworthiness, in the one called.
3. Then God gives His assurance and
4. ...the call to mission.
5. Finally, the one called accepts God’s invitation.
The not so enthusiastic initial response to God’s call by Isaiah, Paul and Peter should not come as a surprise. Think about it: how would you feel if you were to be plucked out of your ordinary existence and presented by God Almighty Himself with an opportunity to work with Him closely, intimately, in the great task of building His Kingdom? Imagine the many life changes you have to go through if you would take the offer. Wouldn’t you feel honored and at the same time humbled – maybe even troubled (why me?) – by such an offer?
I know I would; I have gone through a similar experience myself. Same with most priests I know. There comes an inevitable point in seminary formation when we realize we are unworthy of the grace we are seeking. This, I believe, is what being “poor in spirit” means.
It is precisely this spiritual poverty that makes our eyes more open to, our hearts more accepting of, the reality of God’s love happening in many ways in our lives. In turn, this spiritual openness makes people more responsive to God’s call.
The experience is not the exclusive domain of priests and religious, or prophets of old. There was a wedding I officiated where I remember the groom earnestly declaring to his bride: “I don’t know what I have done to deserve a blessing like you.”
The realization of the gratuitousness of love makes us want to participate more in the experience, and share with others the joy we find in it. This, I believe, is what a “calling” means.
God calls everyone of us, each to his or her own mission and way of life. His call is always to participate in His life of grace ever more fully.
These days God has a common call for us as a nation: “God is calling us to participate in transforming our society, to ‘seek good and not evil’ (Amos 5,14)”. This is the opening line of the recent pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), “A Call for Vigilance and Involvement”.
This coming Tuesday marks the start of the official campaign period for candidates running for national positions. As election fever mounts, our bishops remind us, especially our lay people, “to fulfill (your) responsibility in renewing the political order”.
Like Sts. Peter, Paul and Isaiah, we may feel unsure of accomplishing this crucial task. We may even feel jaded and cynical at the many disappointments we have had from our failed leaders and failed promises of elections past. Still every election is an opportunity to effect meaningful change for our country. St. Paul in Rom 5,20 assures us: “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more”.
The bishops’ pastoral letter asks candidates:
1. to start by being honest and sincere in educating the people on the situation of our country in their campaign;
2. to not manipulate the perceptions of the people but to help them to make good choices for the sake of the country; and
3. to present their platforms and convictions rather than attack others.
The bishops also remind soldiers and police officers:
1. to be vigilant in bringing about peaceful elections, and
2. not allow themselves to be used by politicians or ideological groups.
Their message is directed foremost to the voters:
“Automated elections will not give us good public officials. Ultimately the leaders that our country shall have will depend on our wise choice of candidates. Do not be swayed by survey results or political advertisements. Follow the dictates of your conscience after a prayerful and collective period of discernment. ‘Winnability’ is not at all a criterion for voting! The vote you cast will be a vote for the good of your country and your children’s future. Serve the common good with your precious vote!”
I would like to conclude with a story that has been circulating in emails recently…
While walking down the street one day a Philippine politician is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the politician.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the politician.
"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are all having such a good time that before the senator realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven."
So, 24 hours pass with the politician joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. "Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."
The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.
"I don't understand", stammers the politician. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The devil smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning… Today, you voted."
The bishops’ pastoral letter concludes with this appeal: “Let us vote wisely that we may have God-fearing and honest people as our leaders.”
God is calling us to do so.
01 February 2010
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – 31 January 2010
Readings: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; Ps 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17; 1 Cor 12:31—13:13 or 13:4-13; Lk 4:21-30
Our Gospel passage today is a continuation of the story last Sunday. Here we listen to the reaction of Jesus’ hometown crowd to His message. It went from condescending amazement to irate contempt to attempted murder. But it was not yet His time, and so – as the Gospel tersely puts it – He “passed through the midst of them and went away”.
The theme of the Readings this Sunday is that of “prophecy”. The First Reading describes the call of the prophet Jeremiah. In the Gospel, Jesus utters the infamous line: “no prophet is accepted in his own native place”.
For the ancient Greeks, prophecy is the gift of discerning the will of the gods. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, prophets are chosen by God to communicate His message to the community. We Christians, at baptism, become sharers in Christ’s three-fold mission as king, priest, and prophet.
1. Prophecy is in the service of the word of God.
In the Old Testament, the message of the prophets usually begins with “dabar Yahweh”, “this is the word of Yahweh…”, “Yahweh says…”, “thus spoke Yahweh…” This signifies that the words of the prophets are not their own but God’s, and their mission is to transmit them faithfully to the people.
There is a common characteristic among prophecies in the Old Testament: they are constant reminders to the people. Prophecies generally offer not some new teaching but a reiteration of some aspect of the Law or the whole spirit of it, e.g., on true worship, on justice and love of the poor, on making right alliances , etc.
Here's a bit of a digression... These past few days were a time of great spiritual blessing and renewal for us priests in the Philippines. We gathered recently for the 2nd National Congress of the Clergy. The talks were great and relevant but in retrospect there was nothing much there that most of us haven’t known already. Still, we found much inspiration and consolation in them. What Father Cantalamesa and Bishop Tagle did was to remind us of the great gift of the priesthood and why we chose this way of life in the first place.
How many times have we heard, or even used these lines: "Habo ko nang pagtaraman iyan, aram na niya an tama asin sala." (I don’t need to talk to him/her about it, he/she already knows what’s right and wrong.) Or "Dai mo ako pagtaraman, aram ko an piggigibo ko." (Don’t tell me what to do, I know what I am doing.) If these were true, then there’s not much need for many of the books of the Old Testament.
The truth is we need God’s constant reminder on how to live meaningfully happy lives. Nobody is too young or old, too wise or dumb, too rich or poor, too mighty or weak, not to need constant reminders. And since God creates all things, He speaks to us through all things: through the wisdom of the young and the old, the ways of the rich and mighty as well as those of the poor and the weak, the lessons learned by the wise and the foolish; through the circumstances of our lives; and especially through Sacred Scriptures.
2. Prophecy is a work of love.
St. Paul in 1 Cor 13,1-3 (in the Second Reading) states: “If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
Prophecy is all about truth-telling. But when truth is used without love, it can be a weapon of destruction. It can destroy self-esteem, reputation, even lives. Let us remember this when we feel compelled to speak about right and wrong to a friend or to a community in need of guidance.
God sent prophets to His wayward people because of His love for them. Prophets, even when their words sting, still transmit God’s love and guidance to His people.
3. Prophecy is expressed in the life of the prophet.
And the lives of the prophets are not easy. Almost always they are met with opposition, suspicion and persecution. Jesus several times reminded the Jews what their forefathers did to the prophets of their time: they killed them. Jesus the prophet follows the same path as the prophets of old.
The Gospel story this Sunday is but one of many instances that Jesus’ message and person met rejection. It is also a solemn reminder to his followers that engaging in prophetic ministry is fraught with difficulties. But this should not dishearten us.
When rejection comes, it has to be acknowledged – and analyzed. Maybe it happened because our truth-telling was lacking in love, and so more love is required. Or because our intended recipient or audience was not yet ready, and so more patience is required. But there are types of rejection that seek to discourage us from pursuing the good that we do or intimidate us into giving up.
Dr. Kent M. Keith wrote his “Paradoxical Commandments” as a way of dealing with the debilitating effects of rejection, thus challenging it in his own terms.
“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.”
There is another version, attributed to Blessed Theresa of Calcutta. It ends with:
"Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough, give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
In the First Reading, when God called Jeremiah, He was quite clear about the resistance and persecution His prophet will face in pursuing his mission. God was also quite clear about another thing: that He will be with Him all the way assuring his victory.
Jer 1,19 says:” They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”
Prophecy means proclaiming bravely the truth of God's love. God is calling. Are you willing to become prophets for our time?