|Amos 2:6-10, 13-16
Psalm 50:16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23
"Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant
with your mouth,
Remember this, you who never think of God.
The message of Jesus seems so uncompromising. He seems to be challenging us to follow him completely, without holding back at all. And reading the words of Amos feels like visiting a classic version of the headlines of today: injustice to the poor and lowly, infidelity that knows no bounds,
There is something wonderfully refreshing and attractive about Jesus' invitation to follow him with complete freedom. It feels like an invitation to let God's grace into our lives and bring wholeness and integrity. It is simple, easy and cheap to think of "renewal" as fixing this or that problem. Real renewal involves a change of heart. It calls us to radical (down to the roots) change - a top to bottom re-assessment of who we are as individuals, as communities, as a People of God. Integrity means that what we say and do in one place fits with and supports what we say and do in every place.
For example, can we renew our sexual morality - call one another to greater chastity and marital fidelity, to a freedom from escapes to internet fantasy - without asking the deep questions about what forces contribute to "weakening" us? Is is possible that the central place of our infidelity is our affluence? Could it be that we have too much, have become accustomed to too much, that our tastes and our needs have become too "cultured," too "refined"? Has our life style so corrupted us that we don't see the poor, know the poor? It is that our moral compass doesn't work because it is surrounded by attractions in every direction? Have we become so dependent and unfree that we simply "never think of God"?
In responding to a renewed call to follow Jesus more totally and
freely, let's begin by simplifying our lives. Let's start by re-assessing
what is important to us. Let's use as our guide how close our experience
is to that of the poor - to people who know their need for God. Let's
prune away the excesses of our culture that make our heart fat and sluggish.
Let's experience the peace that the world simply can't give us, the joy
that Jesus promises us
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