Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Indictment

Daily Readings

Job 3 Genesis 39 Amos 2:6-16 Mark 9

Daily Text: Amos 2:6-16

Indictment

Amos does not spare these folks. His appearance is not just a diatribe against their enemies; he strikes deep into the heart of Israel’s private and communal sins. Injustice is rampant in these poignant images of vss.6b-8. The innocent are being sold for money with the consent of the legal system (mention of a ‘pair of shoes, symbol for concluding a legal arrangement). Fathers and sons are sexually using the same helpless woman, and the rich are taking the garments of the poor in pledge and then bedding on them in a triple offense: keeping the garment of the poor, prostituting women and doing it beside God’s altar! For Amos and for YHWH it can’t get any worse.

This indictment then shifts to an historical recital of YHWH’s goodness to Israel in the 13th century conquest of the land, benefits of the exodus from Egypt, and the provision of prophets and nazirites to remind them of their covenant with the LORD. These same nazirites have been forced by the people to violate their life-long oath by drinking prohibited wine, and the prophets, including Amos (cf. 7:12-13), have been prohibited from prophecying God’s own word!

Judgement is inevitable. YHWH has been burdened down with their sin like a cart loaded with sheaves (New English Bible), and no Israelite will escape from the weight of God’s burden.

How Far, O Rich?

St. Ambrose

How far, O rich do you extend your senseless avarice?

Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the

earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers

of nature and claim it all for yourselves?

The earth was made for all, rich and poor in common.

Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right?

The soil was given to the rich and poor in common

--wherefore O ye rich, do you unjustly claim it

for yourselves alone?

Nature gave all things in common for the use of all;

usurpation created private rights.

Property hath no rights. The earth is the Lord’s and

we are His offspring.

The pagans hold the earth as property. They do blaspheme

God.

377:766

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