Do we really, really want a prophet?

     The movie,  A Few Good Men,  provided a classic line that has been repeated many times over.  The young military officer Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, is questioning the older officer, Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson.  Jessep, the older officer asks: 

You want answers?  To which Kaffee responds:

I think I’m entitled to them.

Jessep then says: You want answers?

Kaffee responds:  I want the truth!!

Jessep then says:  You can’t handle the truth!

       The people of the time of Moses cried out to God for a prophet to run “interference” between them and God. (Deuteronomy 18:15-20).  Then — when they got a prophet, they really did not want this one.  The presence of Moses, interfering in their lives, was no longer so welcome.

       Do we really, really want a prophet in our midst?  Do we want God to raise up someone who speaks THE TRUTH TO US day and night, 24/7? 

       The people prayed for a Savior, someone to deliver them from the oppression of the Romans.  God sent his son — the prophet par excellence — and then, when he did not act as they wanted him to act, when he challenged their way of life, they were not so thrilled.


      We seem to despise politicians who pay too much attention to the polls, to those who gauge their answers to what is popular …. but how will someone get elected?  To get elected, those running for office have to tell people what they want to hear!

      Prophets of God do not foretell the future …they speak the word of God, they speak the truth to power.

      Imagine a politician running on a platform of: we must pray for our enemies, we must forgive those who do wrong to us, we must share our coats with those who have none.  They would be laughed off the stage and derided as a being out of touch with the REAL world.

       As long as Jesus gave the people plenty of bread and fish — as long as he amazed the crowds by healing the lepers and giving sight to the blind — the crowds were large.  But, when he began to talk about suffering, carrying the cross, and then dying …. the crowds got smaller and smaller and even the disciples got discouraged.

     Prophets like Moses, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist shook up the comfortable folks. 

Yet, all true prophets speak God’s word … not their own … which is a word that will bring life to those who listen and lead to death for those who will not listen.

      In the time of Jesus, even the demons could recognize the word of God …. and so can we.  The choice: listen to the word and live — ignore the word and die.  AND SO IT IS WITH THE FALSE PROPHET … s/he who speaks in their own name and not God’s name will ALSO DIE.

          Can you  and I …. can we … handle the truth?  What is it about ourselves that reflects we are hearing God and acting on his word?  What is it about ourselves that shows we are ignoring the word of God? 

         Our parents and grandparents stood in awe before God’s word ….. have we become so smart that we actually think we have found something better than the word of God?  Have we become so smug as to think we actually know better than the revealed word of God?

      Today … God’s word will be spoken … there are no “ifs” “ands” or “buts”.  God is speaking as he has spoken … are our hearts ready to hear?

> Is our perception of what we are doing to please God — the same as what God is asking us to do to please him? 

> Is our Church moving in response to a divine direction or a human impulse?

> Are we “sugar-coating” God’s word to make it more palatable or pleasing?

> Is there a truth about myself — or a situation in front of me — that I am refusing to see or admit to be true?  Am I stubbornly sticking to something that is obviously not going to work?  Am I pushing my agenda when it is clear that others are not buying it?

         What would be a truth that God wants us to hear about ourselves?  What is a truth that God is trying to speak to us about our work? 

        Is there a truth we are being called to speak to someone else?

        Are we pretending to speak a word as being God’s word ….. when in reality it is our word/a human word?

        We all …. including myself … despise lies and liars ………but, are we really willing and able to handle the truth?


About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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2 Responses to Do we really, really want a prophet?

  1. Bob Colbert says:

    Your questions are good ones; causing me to stop and wonder if I take time to reflect upon what is happening around me. Do I listen to or see the “truth” around me as it regards my personal relationships with my family, friends or colleagues? Or do I simply go with the flow of things…and try to avoid any discomforts or conflicts?

    I tend to believe that there are prophets around us if we only take time to listen…


  2. Bette says:

    So, Henry, after I read your homily on the Gospel, do I need to go to Mass? Is that a short cut that you are speaking of? Instead of a healthy reverence,do we want the Cliff notes version, skipping the Good Newa?

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