Introduction to Amos
Amos was a sheep breeder of Tekoa in Judah, who delivered his oracles in the Northern Kingdom during the prosperous reign of Jeroboam II (786–746 B.C.). He prophesied in Israel at the great cult center of Bethel, from which he was finally expelled by the priest in charge of this royal sanctuary. The poetry of Amos, who denounces the hollow prosperity of the Northern Kingdom, is filled with imagery and language taken from his own pastoral background. The book is an anthology of his oracles and was compiled either by the prophet or by some of his disciples. The prophecy begins with a sweeping indictment of Damascus, Philistia, Tyre, and Edom; but the forthright herdsman saves his climactic denunciation for Israel, whose injustice and idolatry are sins against the light granted to her. Israel could indeed expect the day of the Lord, but it would be a day of darkness and not light. When Amos prophesied the overthrow of the sanctuary, the fall of the royal house, and the captivity of the people, it was more than Israelite officialdom could bear. The priest of Bethel drove Amos from the shrine—but not before hearing a terrible sentence pronounced upon himself. Amos is a prophet of divine judgment, and the sovereignty of the Lord in nature and history dominates his thought. But he was no innovator; his conservatism was in keeping with the whole prophetic tradition calling the people back to the high moral and religious demands of the Lord’s revelation. Amos’s message stands as one of the most powerful voices ever to challenge hypocrisy and injustice. He boldly indicts kings, priests, and leaders. He stresses the importance and the divine origin of the prophetic word; one must either heed that word in its entirety or suffer its disappearance. Religion without justice is an affront to the God of Israel and, far from appeasing God, can only provoke divine wrath. The Lord is not some petty national god but the sovereign creator of the cosmos. Amos alludes to historical forces at work through which God would exercise judgment on Israel. Several times he mentions deportation as the fate that awaits the people and their corrupt leaders, a standard tactic of Assyrian foreign policy during this period. Through the prophetic word and various natural disasters, the Lord has tried to bring Israel to repentance, but to no avail. Israel’s rebelliousness has exhausted the divine patience and the destruction of Israel as a nation and as God’s people is inevitable. As it is presented in this book, Amos’s message is one of almost unrelieved gloom. A later appendix, however, ends the book on a hopeful note, looking beyond the judgment that had already taken place in fulfillment of Amos’s word.
JUNE 9 Thursday
Amos, Chapter 3, Verse 8
8 The lion has roared, who would not FEAR?
The Lord GOD has spoken, who would not prophesy?
Have you ever visited a zoo and heard the lion roar? Your heart quickens and your body is ready for action. Have your hearts become complacent? If so, let us hear the roar of the lion of Judah, our Lord Jesus Christ, and be ever ready to do the work of the Holy Spirit.
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Indeed, goodness and mercy* will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Loving and Adoring the Eucharistic Lord
69. Thus far we have stirred up our amazement at the Eucharistic mystery and have considered the nature of our total self-gift in response. Now we turn to how we might practically live out this mystery with greater faith and love for – as we pray at each Mass – “our good and the good of all His holy Church”? In other words, how concretely might we “follow the Ark” of the Eucharist into the future God has planned for us?
I. Make every Sunday the “Day of the Lord.”
73. Brothers and sisters in Christ, examine your experience of Sunday. Have you allowed Sunday to be like the other days of the week? Is the whole day set aside for your rejuvenation in God, or have you reduced the holiness of the day to an hour or two? Some persons are indeed required to work on Sunday, which of course is permitted. But for so many of us, Sunday could be more effectively “kept holy” with even minimal preparation and foresight.
74. The Saints always love Sunday and keep it holy. As a young girl, Saint Maria Goretti walked fifteen miles back and forth to Sunday Mass. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi once walked forty miles for Mass. In parts of Africa today, for example, some of our Catholic brothers and sisters walk for long hours to attend Mass. Families, individuals, and small communities who attempt to be good stewards of the Lord’s Day quickly discover a treasure which changes their whole experience of the week. Sunday is no longer just another day. It becomes the day of the Eucharist. It is the day of encountering the joy of the Risen Lord, who strengthens, nourishes, and sends them, together, on mission the rest of the week.
75. Think of the Sunday Eucharist as the sun which emits rays of warmth and light. If no rays shined forth, what good would the sun be for life on the earth? Similarly, if no good effects from Mass are perceptible on Sunday, our eyes become blind to the goodness and power of the Eucharist. I invite you: be bold in allowing rays of freedom, joy, and life to burst forth from Mass into the rest of your Sunday! How might the Lord desire that you allow these rays to shine forth precisely on Sunday? Here are some simple ideas for you to consider:
· Choose a set time when you will go to Mass on Sunday and stick to it.
· Find ways to make the experience of Sunday Mass truly joyful and festive, e.g., wear your best clothes, have a wonderful meal with loved ones afterward, have great music playing at home throughout day, telephone loved ones, enjoy a clean and renewed home – which means finishing domestic duties and chores on Saturday, spend time enjoying the Bible, savor something truly beautiful in nature or art, and perform simple works of charity.
· Try to live the Lord’s Day from sunset on Saturday through Sunday evening.
· Turn off your phone for extended periods of Sunday, if not the whole day.
· If outside obligations threaten your Sunday, consider talking with your boss, family, or friends to find ways to move those commitments elsewhere.
To be continued…
Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following:
These fruits should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.
Notice I have placed the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in stairstep fashion so we may reflect on them seeing that by concentrating on each step of our growth in the spirit we may progress closer and closer to our heavenly Father. Today we will be focusing on the fourth step which is faith.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Article 10 "I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS"
II. The Power of the Keys
981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations." The apostles and their successors carry out this "ministry of reconciliation," not only by announcing to men God's forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:
[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.
982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.
983 Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the incomparable greatness of the risen Christ's gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors:
The Lord wills that his
disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his
name all that he did when he was on earth.
Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels .... God above confirms what priests do here below.
Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift.
984 The Creed links "the forgiveness of sins" with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit.
985 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.
986 By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance.
987 "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification" (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6).
· -June 9-12-Chicago is the place to visit in June, especially if you’re a fan of the blues. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues music festival in the world. Over three days, more than 500,000 people converge on Grant Park to hear well-renown performers perform on the festival’s five stages.
The Week Ahead
· June 10th Ember Friday
· June 11th Ember Saturday
· June 12th Trinity Sunday
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus