Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Amos 7: 10-17; Matthew 9:1-8)
The way Amos rants against injustice one might think that Israel was the most decadent of all the nations in history. But it has been noted that his prophecy falls at a time of peace and prosperity and, presumably, some care for neighbor. We might say that greed and hatred are not necessarily prominent in Israel as they are built into all social structures with as much frequency as the corner store. In Latin America today, for example, after generations of naming the problem, political corruption is growing exponentially. A recent seminar in Ecuador notes that the increased corruption has its roots in the drug trade and the desire of politicians to assure their reelections.
As he indicates in the first reading, Amos is not thrilled about denouncing injustice. He was a simple farmer and shepherd until the Lord called him to warn the northern kingdom of its sins. Now he has no choice but to preach as God directs him. The man’s lot induces our pity as even the priests of the land find his message overbearing.
Eventually, Jesus will come to hack at the root of sin. The gospel today, of course, relates how he forgives sin. His absolution is not meant as only the removal of an external blotch. Much more wonderfully, he provides the grace that leads those whom he touches beyond sin into the community of righteousness. There may still be need for prophets in this community, but we should be able to note some progress against corruption and other injustices.