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Priests, Prophets, and Kings

– Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent –

[Jesus] said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.’ … When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. [Luke 4:24, 28]:39]

The phrase ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown’ is so familiar to us that we may not have thought about how it applies to us. Do you know that you are a prophet? In fact, by virtue of your baptism, you are a priest, a prophet and a king (Catechism n. 783-786).

The language is a bit gender exclusive, for which I apologise, but you get the point. As a priest, you stand in God’s presence and pray for the world and yourself. Your prayer is heard. As a king, you have an innate dignity in God’s eyes, and you have the authority to offer leadership in the Church and the world. As a prophet, you are to proclaim God’s word to the world through everything you are, do and say.

This is, incidentally, how the new dispensation differs from the old. Before Pentecost, the experience was that the roles of priest, prophet and king were allocated to a select group. For example, Melchizedek was a priest, Elijah, a prophet, and Saul was a king. The Spirit of God anointed them for a particular purpose. Occasionally a person had more than one role (for example, David was a king and a prophet, and Moses can be loosely described as all three), but this was unusual.

After Pentecost it all changes. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, you are an anointed one. You have been reborn in Christ, and so participate in his priestly, prophetic and royal nature.

As a result, and in light of today’s reading, you can expect there are those who will take issue with you.

By Shane Dwyer

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