July 1, 2020 AD
Today’s scriptures take us back to the time of a shepherd and dresser of mulberry figs who also was a prophet. Amos lived during good economic times, but corruption was killing the people both socially and religiously. This was part of the backdrop of this 8th Century BCE (Before the Common Era) prophet. Amos had a great thirst for social and economic justice. His words may--in fact, should--inspire us to seek all kinds of justice including racial justice in this country and throughout the world. Amos instructs us and the people of Bethel; “seek good and not evil, that you may live.” Why does Amos address this concern to the people of God? Because they were a corrupt and cheating people, “oppressing the just, accepting bribes, turning away the needy at the gate.” Amos is addressing many who are well off: the leaders of the community, the owners of property and farms, business people, judges, and the civil government movers and shakers. Remember, to those whom much is given, much will be required. Let’s keep this simple and basic: seek what is good, pursue what is good and just, and do what is right!
This one line of scripture could keep us working for the rest of our lives: speaking only what is right and fair about another person; not gossiping even if it might be true; welcoming the stranger in our mist, including our parishes; going the extra mile to speak to and acknowledge someone of a different race or ethnicity; being kind to the elderly or handicapped person, offering assistance when appropriate; standing up for what is right whether convenient or inconvenient.
Jesus in today’s gospel goes to an uncomfortable and dangerous place; many lunatics and possessed people lived and roamed about that