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Following The Way

July 20, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014: Thirteenth Monday of Ordinary Time

Amos 2:6-10, 13-16.  They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth.                                                                                                                      Matthew 8:18-22Follow me.

Gospel Reflection:

Praised be Jesus Christ! R. For evermore!

Remember this, you who never think of God: if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  If we heard nothing else today, but the warning of the  psalm (Ps 50:22)  and acclamation (Ps 95), we would be well armed for this day!

We hear some pretty dire stuff from Amos, the third of twelve prophets from the Old Testament.  He writes at a time of prosperity and strong national consciousness.  The king Jeroboam II was a capable ruler and strong military figure.  Israel and Judah were at peace with one another.  All was well.  And yet Amos writes in a stark and vehement style, delivering a harsh message.  Why?  The classes are separating; the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class is being tread upon and reduced to poverty themselves.  Religious decay was all around, Mosaic tradition being abandoned.  Sound familiar?  Just look around today.  Amos wrote that a nation could have a covenant relationship with God, but only if people dealt justly with one another.

What we hear today is the Oracle against Israel.  Amos was charging Israel with crimes against God, and brotherhood.  The rich place little or no value on the poor, yet Amos sees the just man as one who is righteous but poor.  We hear them called the lowly; the anawim, who practice resignation without complaint.  The righteous.

God’s punishment will be relentless.  The prophets had been rejected.  Amos is pretty descriptive here.  If I had heard this on the news I think I would be digging though my things looking for sackcloth, and making some ashes.  It will not bode well for Israel; they have no means of escape.

Remember this, you who never think of God

So what’s the answer?  Again, our response today, is our warning: “Remember this, you who never think of God” (Ps 50:22).  “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?”  (Ps 50:16-17).  Isn’t that what our society today is doing?  Hasn’t our society abandoned many of our values and social norms, for a secular and relativistic way of life?  We are being lead into a dark tunnel by CINO’s and our Christian ways of charity, justice, and love have been challenged by a prosperity Gospel of “I’m ok, and so are you!  And the one with the most things wins.” Hogwash. You’re not ok, and neither am I!  We are sinners plain and simple, but, but, here we are on a Monday working on not only our salvation, but that of our friends as well.

I find the Gospel today actually a little difficult to chew on.  But it is here that Jesus gives us our working orders; our template for the Christian way.  “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Mt 8:20).  The Lord literally is living a vagrant lifestyle, and if you are to become that disciple, you must be prepared to abandon those comforts in conducting business as usual.  Even those comforts of the family business as usual: Jesus is not suggesting that the man leave his dead father on the side of the road, but stepping away from burdensome obligations until the time is just ‘perfect.’  There is no perfect time, you cannot wait until all the stars are aligned, or the moon is in the seventh house (!), or the weather just right.  Discipleship means all in.  You have to dare to be great!  You have to dare people with the Gospel!

And the time is now!  Follow him!

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