We hear often in the scriptures about the prophets. There are prophets ... and then there are Prophets. In yesterday's first reading from Amos (the Prophet) we hear of his encounter with the priest at Bethel. Amos had gone there at the prompting of God to do what a true Prophet should do - to hear what God proclaims and to speak in God's name. A Prophet, like the Twelve, bears the message of God and proclaims the Good News. They often remind their listeners of the divergence that sometimes exists between faith and action, and in doing so calls the hearer to repentance, to a change of heart, to conversion. Prophets are not always appreciated or welcomed, but they are necessary.
Bethel had prophets, in fact, a school of prophets. For there are prophets whose job it is to pave the way for the king or ruler, to be the PR person, the spokesman for the status quo, the cheerleader and encourager of others to join the team and get on the bandwagon. In the political area we see this kind of prophet everywhere. But they say what they think we want to hear. Their message is the party line. They are soothers rather than stirrers of the pot. Their message is rooted in ideology rather than Truth. They represent the "other gods" of our lives.
Like Amos, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and the Twelve, we are called to witness to the Truth found in the message of the Gospels, to be a thorn in the side or even a pain in the neck of those who need to hear the message of life. We need to be a true Prophet and not just an ordinary prophet. And our credentials - Baptism in Jesus Christ who have been gifted with Truth.