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Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action

We Are Prophets of a Future Not Our Own
Bishop Ken Untener



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.    
Nothing we do is complete,  which is another way of saying  
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.    
         No statement says all that could be said.    
         No prayer fully expresses our faith.    
         No confession brings perfection.      
         No pastoral visit brings wholeness.    
         No program accomplishes the church's mission.   
         No set of goals and objectives includes everything.   
This is what we are about.    
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We lay foundations that will need further development.  
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. 
This enables us to do something,  and to 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 are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.  
We are prophets of a future not our own.  Amen.     

Kenneth Edward Untener was bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw from 1980 until his death in 2004. He penned a homily for John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, which included this reflection. Pope Francis quoted it verbatim in his remarks to the Roman Curia on December 21, 2015.