Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, said to Amos, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’
‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’
First reading for the 15th Sunday of the Year
It is not only the self-evidently godless who will not listen to God. As this episode tells us the self-evidently godly find it difficult too. And maybe what seems self-evidently so, actually again and again turns out not to be what seemed so evident to us!
Here, for sure, Amos has been given much to say, but Bethel will not listen. The irony is that Beth-El means ‘House of God’. The House of God will not listen to the Lord!
This was not a flaw only on the part of the court of the Northern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom will have the same failing. And down the centuries, again and again, Christians have proclaimed themselves to be such, but will not listen to what the Lord has to say…
- What about you today?
- What about your Christian community?
- How open to the prophetic, calling you to deeper faithfulness, are you?
Stained Glass. Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, Paris. © 2018, Allen Morris