Imagine you are offered a job that guarantees you will be scorned or ignored, hated, ostracized, thought of as a weirdo or a crackpot, and almost all of your predecessors tried to escape doing it or made excuses for being ill-chosen for it. Would you take it? That's the reality of being a prophet of God. From the beginning from Elijah who had to run for his life and from A (Amos) to Z (Zephaniah) being a prophet was not a glamorous or a sought after task.
Today we see what being a prophet meant to Amos. After King Solomon died, the united nation of the twelve tribes was split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Now the Southern kingdom, Judah, was looked down upon by the Northern kingdom of Israel. It had fewer resources, population, relatively little in the way of industry or trade. Amos was a shepherd and took care of the sycamores, probably illiterate, from the South, and a country bumpkin as far as the priest Amaziah at the Northern shrine at Bethel was concerned. Yet, Amos preached to the people of the North who went to the shrine to offer sacrifice. He criticized their worship and their lives. How dare he! And so Amaziah confronts this self- styled prophet, this nobody. It is interesting to note that the priest of Bethel-which means the house of God-calls the shrine the 11King's sanctuary and royal temple," indicating where his loyalties lie.
How often do we behave like Amaziah? Whenever we hear some criticism, we attack the person making it and their qualifications. 11Who died and you the boss?" 11I already have a mother," we'll say. Or, we'll whine, 11You don't know me!"
The next time you are tempted to dismiss someone's 11suggestions" for your life's improvement, consider whether that person is a weirdo or a prophet in disguise.
-Fr. Sas, July 12 Homily
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time