The job of a prophet is not an easy one. And we should all know, because we are all in some ways the prophetic seeds the Lord is sowing in the world. We might fall on good soil, or amongst rocks or thorns, but wherever we are, we are expected to bear fruit. We are called upon to preach the Word in our actions and sometimes our words, no matter how difficult a job it can sometimes be.
The reading about the call of the prophet Jeremiah that we have in our first reading today was the first reading at my Deaconate ordination. I picked it myself. But like a lot of deacons at their ordinations, I cleverly didn’t pick the verses that follow in Jeremiah’s account, detailing all the bad news he would be called upon to preach to the people of Israel. Sometimes what we prophets have to say is not politically correct, or suitable for polite company. We might bear good news, but more than likely we’ll bear bad news, or at least warnings of bad news. And sometimes that’s just hard for people to hear.
But whatever we have to say, and wherever our prophetic actions or words take us, the Lord makes it clear to Jeremiah – and us! – today that we will never be delivering that news alone:
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
So in our offering today, maybe we can renew our prophetic promise to God. We can once again give him our lives and promise to follow where he takes us. And whatever soil we land on, may we all bear “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”