Archive for January 25th, 2019

Amos 1 and 2Prosperity

Friday, January 25, 2019

Written on January 24 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

The Prophet Amos

We all wish for prosperity.  We hope for fulfillment of dreams.  Yet we are also are too often willing to relax into success too soon and too quickly.  We sign up and sign on . . . without examining the source and the reason for easy wealth.  Amos warns against this kind of affluence which comes at the expense of others.  What makes us happy may, in fact, be damaging others.  What fills our plate and our purse may come to us through harm to others or to God’s creation.  When fame and money roll in unabated, we need to summons the courage to be honest about the origin and the nature of this success for the only sort of achievement that truly lasts and truly saves . . . comes to us through the heart . . . from our God.  This is what Amos’ audience does not want to hear.

During the past two or so years of Noontimes we have turned often to this brief but powerful prophecy spoken by a herdsman and aimed at the newly successful wealthy class of the northern kingdom of Israel.  The ten northern tribes had separated themselves from the two southern tribes of Judah to establish their own temple center away from Jerusalem . . . in order that they might collect their own taxes to do with as they liked.  Their wealth was largely earned on the backs of the poor.  This is what Amos calls into the open and for his effort he is expelled from Bethel where he has been preaching.  He returns to his pastoral life after speaking the words that God calls him to speak.

Amos’ words were more than officials could bear (Senior 1126) and so he was sent away for asking them to examine their individual and collective conscience.  He was silenced at that time but his words come to us today to ask the same questions.

What do our actions express about our belief in justice?  Do we relax into a life that brings easy gain?  Are we silent when we ought to speak truth to power?  Do we act with integrity, trying to match words and deeds?

The Lord will roar from Zion, and from Jerusalem raise his voice.  Yet when Christ speaks, we see that this Lion of Judah has become the Lamb of God, pardoning in mercy, acting in compassion.

Amos asks us to take inventory and to pass judgment on our own prosperity. It is hollow?  Or does it flow from and in Christ?  Do we climb over others to snatch what we think is ours?  Or do we imitate the Lamb to live a prudent and compassionate life?  Do our words match our gestures?  Do we act humbly, judge wisely, love deeply and truly?

These are the questions Amos raises as he begins his prophecy.  How do we answer them today?

A re-post from January 25, 2012.

Image from: http://www.breviary.net/martyrology/mart03/mart0331.htm

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1126. Print.   

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