First Reading: 1 Am 7:10-17
Psalm: 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Gospel: Mt 9:1-8
It’s not unusual for a corrupt government to cite religion to support its corrupt policies. Nor is it unheard of that a corrupt religious leader might be in the forefront of those defending government corruption. This was the situation in which Amos found himself when at God’s urging, he went about Israel, condemning the social sinfulness of king, priests, and people.
Amos’s preaching was subversive. It condemned king, priests and people, revealing to them how they were violating the obligations imposed on them by the covenant they had entered into with God.
The priest Amaziah expelled the prophet from the Temple at Bethel, the main site of religious worship in Israel, and ordered Amos to go back to Judah, where, he told him, he could earn his bread by prophesying. He was never to prophesy in Israel again.
Amos responded to Azamiah’s deportation order, protesting that he was not a professional prophet, that his one goal was to preach the word God had told him to preach. Amos certainly had no interest at all in supporting the political establishment.
On the day of our baptism all of us were appointed prophets. It’s not an easy role to fulfill. People don’t like to be reminded of their sinfulness, and so the prophet always arouses opposition. If, however, we meet with opposition, we need only put our trust in God and rely, not on our wisdom and strength, but on his. Amos can be an inspiration for us. He was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees. He was not an educated man. Yet he fulfilled the obligation God put on him. We can do the same in regard to the obligation he put on us on the day of our baptism.