Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Which is another way of saying that the Kingdom lies behind us. No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. No strategic plan addresses every possibility.
That is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need to further develop.
We provide yeast that produce effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation realizing this.
It enables us to do something and do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end result, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not the master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

-Composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, in 1979. It was drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden for a celebration of departed priests. The words are often attributed to Bishop Oscar Romero but were never spoken by him, yet they speak to his spirit.


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