In the bright light of a Roman Saturday afternoon—21 November 1964—Pope Paul VI, in communion with 2500 Bishops who had gathered from around the world for the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, signed off on a document called Lumen Gentium (“Light of the Nations”). This document articulates who we are as the Church and the self-understanding that underpins what we do, our mission. Paragraph 12 of this document reads: “The holy people of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise” (LG 12).
This paragraph names a reality that every baptised member of the Church participates in: prophetic witnessing in Christ the Prophet par excellence. We all share in the prophetic ministry of Christ.
In first reading of today (Deut. 18:15-20) the voice of Moses echoes, “Your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourself, from your own brothers; to him you must listen.” This Mosaic prophecy finds its fulfilment in Christ. Jesus is the Eternal Prophet raised not only for the people of Ancient Israel, but for all. To share in Christ’s prophetic ministry means to put him on in the most intimate manner possible, so that whoever encounters us, will encounter Christ. In other terms, we develop the mentality of Christ: the mentality of love, justice, peace and forgiveness. When this happens, we become prophetic witnesses in Christ; when this happens, we our lives become a transformative Gospel that people can read and be transformed. This is the truth that Pope Paul VI and the Bishops named at the Second Vatican Council.
Let us become what and who we truly are: prophetic witnesses in Christ, changing the world by our life! Let us proclaim Christ in all places, bringing light where there is darkness, bringing peace where there is chaos and disunity, bringing hope where there is despair.
Fr Anthony Ekpo