With the reading from the Prophet Joel this morning, we conclude our journey through the minor classical prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. During the very last week of the liturgical year, we will hear from Daniel, one of the four major classical prophets, known for his apocalyptic visions and oracles. Joel’s writing consists of two speeches. We heard an excerpt from the first speech yesterday and heard him speak of the coming of the Day of the Lord.
In today’s reading, taken from the second speech, he speaks of a judgment day that will occur in conjunction with the Day of the Lord. He urges the people to heed God’s Word before it is too late. One can hear a similar warning in the writings of St. Paul when he declares that now is the acceptable time. Putting off conversion is a dangerous game.
Jesus echoes these sentiments in today’s Gospel passage when he declares those blessed who hear the Word of God and act upon it.
The very definition of a prophet is one who carries the Word of God as he or she makes her way through the ordinary routine of life. We are called to this prophetic way of life. Formed in the image of Jesus through our baptism, our vocation is to proclaim the Word of God in our speech as well as in our behavior. As Franciscans we walk in the footsteps of the poor man of Assisi who, in the words of Thomas of Celano, was “no deaf hearer of the Word.”
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator