Year B: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Amos 7: 12-15
In todayís First Reading, we have a good example of a prophet meeting rejection - sadly, rejection by a priest of the temple of Bethel.
As with similar incidents, we can be tempted to believe that we would react differently. However, if we imagine the scene brought up to date - someone coming in from the countryside - probably none too clean - talking through our services and failing to respect the codes of behaviour - we can begin to see Amaziahís dilemma.
He was a priest responsible for the liturgy of the time - good order and beautiful worship were needed in order to give praise to God. Was this not what he had been taught? Was this not what had sustained Godís people since the time of Moses? People came to the temple to offer appropriate sacrifice: it was the national sanctuary and should be treated with respect.
What would the modern equivalent be?
Amos is not brow-beaten, however. Like most of the prophets, he knows who has sent him and that he had very little choice in the matter. As he says, he was fully occupied in the countryside until God told him to come to Bethel and prophesy to the people.
Such a confidence is not always easy to develop. It helps if God has made His will known in clear and dramatic ways but, as we know, this is the exception rather than the rule. In general, people have to rely on an inner conviction that impels them to comply with Godís will. Like Amos, they might have preferred to stay with the everyday and routine - but they know that God has other plans for their lives. For a very few, it may lead to stark confrontation and conflict - possibly costing them everything. For most, the path is easier - but very few disciples of Jesus avoid all confrontation is they are true to the Gospel - unfortunately!
What does it mean for me?
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