Friday, July 07, 2006
Friday 13th Week in Ordinary Time
July 7, 2006
Friday 13th Week in Ordinary Time - Yr II
AMOS 8:4-6, 9-12
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the
land! "When will the new moon be over," you ask, "that we may sell our
grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?" We will
diminish the containers for measuring, add to the weights, and fix our
scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly man for silver, and the poor
man for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!"
On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun set at midday and
cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight. I will turn your
feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentations. I will cover
the loins of all with sackcloth and make every head bald. I will make
them mourn as for an only son, and bring their day to a bitter end.
Yes, days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send famine upon
the land: Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing
the word of the LORD. Then shall they wander from sea to sea and rove
from the north to the east In search of the word of the LORD, but they
shall not find it.
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs
post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners
came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and
said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors
and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a
physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I
desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but
Matthew the tax collector and the rich Israelites of Amos's day were
engaged pretty much in the same sort of business activity. Both robbed
the poor. In the first reading Amos condemns the rich Israelites
because they could hardly wait for the Sabbath and other feast days to
come to an end to get back to their business of unjust profiteering, of
gouging the poor. They lessened the size of the grain measure (the
epha) so the poor would get less when they buy, and they increased the
silver measure (the shekel) so the poor would have to pay more. They
maltreated the poor, treated them as commodities to be bought and sold.
They sold to them even the leavings of the wheat, swept up from the
floor, food unfit for human consumption.
The tax collector in Jesus' day also gouged the poor. He bought the job
of tax collector from the Romans. He made his living by overcharging
his countrymen, rich and poor. What was over and above the required tax
he kept for himself. He made a good living.
The Pharisees condemned tax collectors just as Amos condemned the
oppressors of the poor in his day. What the Pharisees didn't see was
that Amos's condemnation was an attempt to call the unjust rich to
repentance. Nor did they see that Jesus' friendship with tax collectors
and other sinners was an attempt to bring them to repentance.
Jesus sees the Pharisees as wanting in mercy even as the rich of Amos's
day showed no mercy to the poor whom they squeezed ruthlessly. To
correct the Pharisees, Jesus cites the prophet Amos, "Go and learn the
meaning of the words, 'It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.'"
The lives of Christians are to be patterned on Jesus' life. We are to
be concerned about both justice and mercy. We are to bring justice to
those suffering injustice, we are to show mercy to all.
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the continued recovery of Aida.
- for the speedy recovery of Cadio.
- for the speedy recovery of Angelina Ramos.
- for the personal intentions of Veronica Yap.
- for the speedy recovery of Mon Alegre's sister.
- for the continued recovery of Tito Cale.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Elena Yu Ekey
- Prayer Intention: Luigi & Bertilla Lanzani
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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