Prophets, the Holy Spirit, and Change
Do we truly believe that anyone can be a prophet? Our readings for this weekend shed some light on how we sometimes limit God’s work among us when we act as if only some people, or certain people have been “ordained” to be prophets. Moses corrects those who believe that the Spirit is given to a limited number of people.
The same is true in the gospel when John tells Jesus that there is someone that is driving out demons and “does not follow us.” Jesus promptly corrects John and the others: “Do not prevent him” because “whoever is not against us is for us.”
In so many matters today, we are asked and sometimes even forced to choose sides, to join tribes, to be “in” with others in a particular way of thinking, in judging who is right or wrong. We tend to listen to and gather around those who think the way we do, pray the way we do, interpret laws the same way we do, or expect others to act in the way we do.
We also tend to guard our turf. Those of us who were here first might resent new volunteers who come in with fresh ideas, new energy, and offers to help. We like it just the way it is—limited to those who are already here. Pride and tribalism get in the way. And the consequence is that we miss the gifts of the Holy Spirit, found in all.
Our call then is to let go, loosen the reins, make room for others, and accept the gifts of all as they offer and as they contribute to the common good. Painful as it may be, now may be the time to accept new ideas and a fresh vision.
Moses, the prophet, and Jesus by his words and actions, both assure us that the Holy Spirit is given to all. And we are all called to be prophets by virtue of our Baptism.
What would it be like to be on the side of Jesus? Is there room for all of us?