Sunday just gone was the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. And the first reading at mass came from the book of Deuteronomy
Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen.
This is what you yourselves asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly. “Do not let me hear again” you said “the voice of the Lord my God, nor look any longer on this great fire, or I shall die”; and the Lord said to me, “All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him.
The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”’
Commonly Christians read this passage as a prophesy about Jesus.
And indeed one of the categories that people first tried to use to ‘place’ Jesus in, to give him his place in the order of things, was prophet.
However it was quickly seen by believers as an inadequate category. Jesus was not there to speak the words of God, but was himself that Word, God, made flesh.
Even so we still read the passage from Deuteronomy as a foreshadowing of his coming. But it also can be read as applying to each Christian who shares in the prophetic ministry of Jesus by virtue of baptism.
- What words do we speak that could come from the mouth of God?
- What words should we speak that come from the mouth of God?
- What words do we speak that could never come from the mouth of God?
Bring your answers to God in prayer.
Figure of Moses from Puits de Moïse, Chartreuse de Champmol, Dijon. In the musée Cité d’architecture and du patrimoine, Paris. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.