The Prophets Around Us

Sermon Summary for Sunday, August 13th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley

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Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home."  Mark 6:4

The above scripture was the basis for The Very Rev. Richard Pocalyko’s homily on this glorious Sunday.  He recounted the story of Jesus in Nazareth and how the people’s lack of faith dissuaded him from performing any miracles.  In fact, they became very agitated with this man whom they had seen grow up and doubted that he had any power to speak of God and to heal the sick.  They knew his family and were aware of his ordinary rearing and were convinced that he had simply “gotten too big for his britches.”  So, convinced of this, they were prepared to drive him off the edge of a cliff and kill him.  He recognized their lack of faith and walked through the crowd leaving the area.  

Like the people of Nazareth, we often believe that prophets must be mysterious and extraordinary.  However, Father Rich described prophets as “pieces of translucent glass that filter the light of God giving it definition and focus.”  This means that prophets can be ordinary people, familiar people, everyday people who enlighten us and open our minds and hearts to new possibilities. 

Father Rich shared a story from his youth about a prophet who shaped his life.  Mr. Lilly was an ordinary man who came to the priesthood through a process referred to as the “Old Man’s Canon.”  This means that the candidates do not go the college or seminary, but are mentored and trained by other priests.  Mr. Lilly touched Father Rich’s life in the mid-60’s when Father Rich was a young man attending an affluent church in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Despite the civil rights movement of the day, the people of All Saints were very fearful of change.  Mr. Lilly spoke from the heart in a Sunday sermon that “God is love and there is no room for fear in love.”  He spoke simply, directly, and without prejudice.  His sermon made such an impression on young Rich that he called Mr. Lilly later in the week and thanked him for his words.  Mr. Lilly said that phone call was the only comment that anyone had made about the sermon.

Morale of the story…We are challenged to recognize the prophets around us.  Ordinary people whose love, words, and acts bring the light into focus for us.  We can all be a prophet to someone.  We are not shattered glass, but translucent lenses that filter, define, and focus the light of God for those around us.  We must open our eyes, hearts and minds to let that light shine into our lives and show us the way.  Thanks be to God for the everyday people who are prophets in our lives!