Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Amos 2:6-10.13-16; Matthew 8:18-22)
“It’s the song the whole world over;
It’s the poor, what get the blame;
It’s the rich, what get the curry.
Ain’t it all a blooming shame.”
This folksong would have been as valid in the prophet Amos’ day just as it is in our own. Amos is outraged at the crimes he finds taking place in Samaria, the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He sees good men being sold into slavery as if they were cheap footwear (“a pair of sandals”) and peasants’ land being expropriated while they are “trampled into the dust.” The list goes on. In fact, Amos is not being intentionally imprecise when he says, “For three crimes of Israel and for four”; he is just indicating that the crimes against the poor are too numerous to be counted.
It is tempting to overlook this reading as prophetic rant and to proceed to Jesus’ more curious words, “the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” But such dismissal would ignore the very reason of Jesus’ urgency. He comes to restore righteousness not only to Israel but to the whole world. He tells his followers that they are brothers and sisters to all. These new relationships entail the obligation to create a society based on love, not just “live and let live” and much less “all for me and the hell with you.”