Today, we hear of the call of the Prophet Amos and the call to the Apostles to go two by two to evangelize. All of us by virtue of our baptism have a call to follow Christ and be united with Him as beloved children of God. We also have a call to spread the gospel, the “good news” throughout the world. How we do that depends on our state in life. God also calls us to be holy. He invites us to His altar to feed us with His very self. Strengthened by His Spirit, He sends us forth like Amos, like the Apostles to preach, to heal, and to conquer evil. Is your vision God’s vision?
Hosea was a prophet from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, more or less, contemporary with Amos whom we recently heard from. After fulfilling his mission, Amos went back to the Southern Kingdom of Judah and back to his occupation as herdsman and grower of sycamore trees. Hosea saw Israel’s great sin as that of idolatry which led to their lack of social justice and concern. Today, we hear about the many shrines that were in Israel and how the many shrines led to idolatry and the worship of Baal, the Canaanite god. Sometimes, we fall in the trap of idolatry ourselves as we worship money, or fame, or drugs, etc. We put something not God in place of our God.
All the readings concern themselves with the difficulty of those called to preach God’s Word. Ezekiel faces a rebellious people in exile; Jesus confronts His hometown folk who believe in His works but not in Him; Paul struggles with his weakness. This can lead to a potential loss of heart and lack of faith. Are we ready to admit our weakness so the power of God may come through our lives? The cross of Christ is God’s strength acting through our weakness.
The Amos story continues as we hear what Amos was sent North to speak. He speaks against the greed of the people of the Northern Kingdom. Justice and fairness have disappeared from everyday life. Everything is done in the name of making a profit. The “anawim,” the widow, the orphan, and the sojourner, those who can’t take care of themselves are being exploited. Does this sound familiar?
Amos is the most famous whistle-blower in the Bible. He is not a professional prophet as it is not his occupation; he doesn’t belong tp a professional guild. He is a farmer and a herdsman, but called by God to speak on His behalf, this one time, and to leave the Southern Kingdom of Judah and go to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Northern Kingdom was quite rich at the time as they had most of the natural resources. Judah was much poorer but they had the Temple in Jerusalem. So, he goes to the Northern Kingdom’s most holy shrine, Bethel. Tomorrow we will hear his message to Israel.
The figure of St. Thomas plays a crucial function in the Gospel according to St. John. Every time he expresses some doubt or confusion, it gives Jesus an opportunity to tell us something deeper about His true identity. Unfortunately, this has caused people to call St Thomas, “Doubting Thomas.” But, we should thank St. Thomas. He has led us to the highest Christology in the Bible, calling Jesus: “My Lord and my God.”
Two more “mighty deeds” performed by Jesus:raising of the daughter of Jairus and healing the woman with the hemorrhages. These miracles show Jesus’ compassion, pity, and caring for others. He is the one who makes whole, who restores people to their rightful place in society. He does the same for us mainly in the spiritual realm. He does it through the sacraments, especial Penance the Holy Eucharist. He can make us whole, too. Won’t you let Jesus restore you?