We are not used to hearing these kinds of words. Doom and gloom, judgment and punishment are not the inspiring words we prefer to hear from scripture. You may be wondering, What has happened here? Why these words? Why this time?
Scripture reminds us often that we all have a tendency to forget. We make promises we fail to keep both individually and as communities. Sometimes we merely forget, too busy with our own lives to pay attention to caring for our neighbor. There are other times when we do not respond because it will cost us something—it will require sacrifice, a giving up, a change of life.
The people of Israel had become opportunists, selling out their own for profit, forgetting the neediest among them for gain. God was angry at their lack of attention to the obvious hunger, need, and desperation of their brothers and sisters.
Too often we claim to follow Jesus but ignore the plight of those around us. Sometimes we claim to be “too busy.” Sometimes we are afraid that paying attention and hearing the needy around us will cost us something. But ignoring them will cost us the abundant life that God promises.
Pay attention and look around; God is speaking. Today be attentive to your patterns of living, spending, consuming. Do they reflect God’s call to simplicity, sharing, and abundance? Do they reflect care of neighbor?
God of abundance, help me to hear your voice calling me to bring good news to the poor. Amen.
This reading from Amos provides more indication of the reasons for God’s coming judgment. Too many in Israel have been oppressing the poor. They cannot wait for religious festivals to end so that they can make more money through corrupt trade, including what we now call human trafficking. If we understand the psalmist to be David, the warning he issues in this passage concerns Saul. Because Saul has turned to evil, God will not allow him to remain in power. While God is love, God also sometimes brings judgment. The author of Colossians extols the elevated status of Christ, who has reconciled us to himself through his death. In Luke, Mary prioritizes spending time with Jesus, while Martha focuses on working for Jesus. It is Mary who receives Jesus’ praise.
Read Amos 8:1-12. Who in your community has been left behind? How can you care for them?
Read Psalm 52. How do you remain rooted in God’s steadfast love when you cry out against injustice?
Read Colossians 1:15-28. What do you need to let fall away to reveal the mystery of Christ in you?
Read Luke 10:38-42. How do you focus on Christ even as you attend to the necessary tasks of daily life?
Respond by posting a prayer.