5th JULY 2024

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Am 8: 4-6, 9-12                      Ps 119: 2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131                         Mt 9: 9-13




The first reading today portrays a very sad picture of the people of Israel. Prophet Amos lashes at the rich waiting for an opportunity to cheat and oppress the poor. It happens in broad day light, so starkly, publicly, treating them disdainfully, forgetting all sorts of justice and God’s commandments. The voiceless poor are ill-treated with no qualms of conscience and least sensitivity.


Amos is sent to bring people to their senses. The rich can close their eyes but God’s eyes are wide-open to their pathetic situation and attentive to their pleas. In no way they will they go unpunished for their luxurious living at the cost of the poor. The prophet calls on them the wrath of God, the punishment awaiting for them. Amos also speaks of an absence of God’s word or intervention in the land. He is not predicting a conversion as a result of which people are hungry to hear God’s word so that they can obey Him, but a punishment, tired of speaking without being listened to, God says nothing and sends no more prophets. ‘The famine of the word of God’.


What is the message for us here? Should not the Church go in search of Christ, in the periphery, to the impoverished, be it morally, emotionally and above all to the spiritually poor? Saint Anthony Mary Zacharia whose memory we keep today takes us to a step further: “we should feel love and compassion for those who oppose us, rather than abhor and despise them, since they harm themselves and do us good, and adorn us with crowns of everlasting glory, while they incite the anger of God against themselves.”


The Gospel passage portrays the opposite, the conversion of the rich tax-collector, leaving aside every riches and comfort at the summons of the Master, so docile and open to the word of God, in a very spectacular way.


Response: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

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