June 28, 2022
by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 378

Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
Psalm 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8
Matthew 8:23-27

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

What If I Have Trouble Getting Better?

To Know Which Way the Wind Blows

“You were like a brand plucked from the fire; Yet you returned not to me, says the Lord.”  (Amos 4:11)

The shepherd left his flock outside the city gates.  More pressing work lies before him.  Like other itinerant preachers, he showed up at the temple and spoke to those passing of our sinfulness, the need for atonement, and God’s fathomless mercy.

The priests were wary of this rustic prophet. As long as he lambasted the crimes of foreign nations, they remained calm.  Nothing reassures us like the failings of our enemies.  But then he got to the crimes of Judah and Israel.  How they “sell the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals.”  Debased and deceitful they desert the God who “plucked this brand” from disaster again and again. “Now,” warned the prophet, “prepare to meet your God.”

Facing our defects can be painful.  Amos’ warning was too much for the priests to countenance.  They drove the shepherd from the temple to secure their façade.

Amos, the shepherd, unleashed fiery oracles tempered by recognition of God’s mercy.  Amos wasn’t a genius.  His prophecy did not arise from superhuman powers.  His questions were simple to answer once you bother to ask them.  Amos stayed close to God and paid attention to what was happening in the world.  He did not close his eyes, plug his ears, and avoid difficult topics.  It was integrity, not brilliance, that marked his words.  He would not accept corruption as “business as usual.”  Amos calls out the con men. 

The earth abounds with storms in our time.  Some days the news is daunting.  Will we make it through?  Will creatures be crushed by the waves?  Is God indifferent to our plight?  Jesus says not to be terrified of the storm.  Our God is near.

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