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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Alzheimer’s’


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Pope Francis

Monday, January 10, 2022

Joy and Amos

The Bitter Day

The prophets chronicle a people’s yearning for union with their creator and un uncanny understanding of their own vulnerabilities. Their words warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds. Today Amos brings the past into focus with the present as he foretells the joy we might find even in the bitterness of our own indictment.

Amos was a shepherd “who exercised his ministry during the prosperous reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.). He prophesied in Israel at the great cult center of Bethel, from which he was finally expelled by the priest in charge of this royal sanctuary . . . In common with the other prophets Amos knew that divine punishment in never completely destructive; it is part of the hidden plan of God to bring salvation to men. The perversity of the human will may retard, but it cannot totally frustrate, this design of a loving God”. (Senior 1126)

Amos 8:10: And I will turn your parties into times of mourning, and your songs of joy will be turned to cries of despair. You will wear funeral clothes and shave your heads as signs of sorrow, as if your only son had died; bitter, bitter will be that day.

More than any other prophet, Amos “speaks directly to the issue of social justice, with a vigor unparalleled anywhere in the Bible . . . No prophet is more easily related to the modern world than Amos, for the social inequities that he denounced in the eighth-century B.C. Israel are still very much with us . . . The first lesson to be learned from Amos is that social justice is the business of religion. The test of piety is what happens in the marketplace rather than what happens in the church or temple”. (Senior RG 365-366)

Amos 5:18: You say, ‘If only the Day of the Lord were here, for then God would deliver us from all our foes.’ But you have no idea what you ask. For that day will not be light and prosperity, but darkness and doom! How terrible the darkness will be for you; not a ray of joy or hope will shine.

Amos witnesses to the corruption and hypocrisy he sees before him. He is expelled from the temple community and then returns to his orchards and flocks but before he goes back to his work, he warns his listeners of the bitter day they hope to avoid, knowing that ultimately – as is always true with God – the joy opportunity for salvation surprises us even as we hear our own bitter indictment.


joyRead about Pope Francis’ recent address to the Curia in which he describes the “spiritual Alzheimer’s” of church leaders; and let us consider our own behavior. Do we contribute to hypocrisy in our own circles by remaining silent when we are called to speak? What joy surprises us in the midst of our indictment? What does our daily living say about our image of God? http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/22/pope-francis-curia-merry-christmas-power-hungry-hypocrites/ and http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis-address-curia

To read Pope Francis’ June 5, 2014 brief address and consider how we might hear his words in the context of this prophecy, visit: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130605_udienza-generale.html  

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1126, RG 365-366. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/10342768/Pope-Francis-to-rip-up-and-rewrite-Vatican-constitution.html

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