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Lectionary 380: Amos the tree trimmer

June 29, 2016


Lectionary 380.  Scripture:  June 30th, Amos 7:10-17.  Psalm 19:  Matthew 9:1-8:

Usually we are finding our identity in our family and our society during our first twenty years; as we mature we continue to search for where we can contribute to society by earning an education and then following a path of life which we sometimes live as our calling or vocation.  Amos was doing his ordinary job of gardening and trimming trees—a special tree called a sycamore unlike our sycamores!  Only later in his life is he directly called by God to be a strong prophet both in the northern kingdom and then in the southern. We can place him historically since he mentions both the northern king named Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.) and the southern king Amaziah (800-783 B.C.).  This enables us to see that he is one of the earliest of prophets in Israel.  It is only in chapter seven of the book of Amos (really a scroll) that we learn of his work as an arborist.  That is our first reading for this day.  The book of Amos has been edited and completed by a later redactor and it makes its way into the Twelve Minor Prophets of the Old Testament.

His message is clear throughout the nine chapters.  Basically it consists in calling both kingdoms back to their pristine fidelity to the Lord’s covenant with them.  He calls for reform by pointing out their sins and failures in that fidelity.  It is a time of opulence for both kingdoms but they return to primitive sins of idolatry and disdain for the lowly and the poor.  We have learned from the Deuteronomist that blessings occur for those who choose a life with God; curses are the result of not being faithful to their covenant with God.  In a way, this type of going back to our not so original sins this vicious circle of evil continues today in our global situation.

In the Gospel we learn that Jesus is always obedient to the Father’s will and call and that he is more than a prophet like Amos.   He has the (exousia) orpower to heal, cast out demons, and know people’s thoughts.  The Greek word for this authority or power means that it flows or comes out of his own person.  It issues from the depth of his soul and its relationship to the Spirit and the Father.  He heals and forgives. He lauds those who have faith and trust in him.  His authority and identity belongs to him as the Son of God.  Amen. Alleluia.



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