At baptism we are marked with oil
as a sign that we are consecrated to
and anointed by the Spirit as prophets,
just as Jesus was,
we might “bring good news to the poor.”
Yes, each of us is called to be a
a messenger of God’s
In today’s reading from
Ezekiel God tells the prophet that,
whether people listen or not,
will know that a prophet has been there.
In the Gospel, Jesus
that no prophet is without respect
except at home, with his own
kin, and in his native place.
Do people know that we are here,
they listen to our message or
When the United States
declared independence from Great Britain
239 years ago this week,
was the privilege of white male landowners.
Slaves were considered
not human beings with equal rights and equal dignity.
On June 4,
1843, Isabella Baumfree,
who spoke Dutch but used English as a second
told her friends of her prophetic call:
"The Spirit calls me,
and I must go," she said.
She changed her name
and left her New York
to preach about the abolition of slavery.
Isabella Baumfree was a
prophet for her time.
She herself had been a slave;
we know her as
It was 84 years after the Declaration of
that the law declared slaves free in the land of the
and more than a hundred years more after that
before free people of
began to find equal protection
under the Voting Rights Act of
and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Today, as Michelle Alexander writes
in The New Jim Crow:
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,
criminal justice system operates
as a means of enslaving young black
and insuring their fall to the bottom of our society.
She is a prophet
speaking out for what’s right,
standing in a long line of people
stood up to the bias and hatred of the status quo,
prophets like Rosa Parks
and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
and many lesser known prophets like the
Rev. Bruce Klunder,
who was crushed to death by a bulldozer
protested the building of a segregated
This past week I was
honored to be invited
when Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson
hosted a Clergy
Prayer Breakfast at Warren AME Church,
beginning a conversation about
and how to make Toledo a place of love
and not a place of
The prayers and speeches were inspiring,
but I remember most two
words Rev. Bob Culp spoke
as he talked about the President’s eulogy
Emanuel AME pastor Clementa Pinckney:
he referred to him as “Pastor
And every one of the clergy in that room
understood what he
a prophet is among us, our President himself,
message of grace and
We know many
prophets of equality, some closer to home,
people who stand up and speak
when they see people treated with indignity or derision
Some of them are local clergy,
like Bob Culp and Karen
Shepler and Marty Donnelly.
But most are ordinary people,
like the members
of the Dialogue-to-Change group
that is raising money to fund
a WGTE town
hall event against racism,
and like the Northwest Ohio folks
who showed so
that our community came in second in the world
year’s Compassion Games.
We know people who are prophets for the
tackling the environmental degradation
that hurts the poorest
the ones on the margins who are already suffering and dying
the thoughtlessness and waste
of those who have and want more.
We know the
famous climate prophets
like Rachel Carson, Al Gore, Thomas Berry, and Pope
But most are ordinary people,
like families that actually do
and people who make environmentally friendly
and work at forming good ecological habits;
and, of course, our
Tree Toledo folks.
The most important
prophets are right here at home.
In our own words and actions,
we are the
ones who speak God’s message
of love and peace and grace.
At the dinner
table or in a restaurant,
we talk about current events
and pipe up with
our own convictions,
but if we hear hate and bigotry,
we speak out and get
it off the table.
On the job, we hear a racist comment and counter
When we hear one of the neighborhood kids
teasing someone because
or bullying a classmate or a sibling,
something unkind about another kid,
we take them aside and talk to them about
Prophets of the Golden Rule, that’s what we are.
I can’t count the
number of times
I’ve heard a parent or a grandparent or a teacher ask a
“Would you like it if he did that to
Yes, we are called to be
It’s not always easy, but we can’t hold it in.
We are sent to
live God’s message, and we have to do it.
Holy Spirit Catholic
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West
Central Avenue (Washington Church)
Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH