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2 posted on 07/01/2014 10:23:10 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Amos 5:14-15, 21-24


[14] Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the god of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
[15] Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the god of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Formalism in religion condemned

[21] “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
[22] Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
I will not accept them,
and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts
I will not look upon.
[23] Take away from me the noise of your songs:
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
[24] But let justice roll down like waters.
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


5:10-17. Here again the prophet inveighs against Israel — particularly those who
sin against justice (”the gates” of the city were where courts sat: vv. 10, 12, 15),
those who exploit the poor and the righteous (vv. 11, 12: in Amos the two words
are often synonymous) and seek a life of ease for themselves (v. 11).

Hence the prophet’s call to conversion (vv. 14-15). He speaks very movingly. A
little earlier he urged his listeners to “seek God and live” (cf. 5:4, 6); now he tells
them that that search means seeking what is good (v. 14). But the way to do that
involves doing one very specific thing — establishing “justice in the gate” (v. 15).
If they in fact do that, the awesome, almighty Lord (”the God of hosts”: vv. 14-15)
will be their merciful God: “Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of
reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defence of justice and right
(Amos 5:24; Is 1:17), by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correc-
tion, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of
suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s
cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance (cf. Lk 9:23)”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1435).

The verses at the end (vv. 16-17) act as an introduction to the theme of “the day
of the Lord” which follows.

5:21-25. This passage contains more criticism (cf. 4:4-5) of formalism in religion.
The prophet contrasts the contemporary position with the way things were during
the forty years in the wilderness — a time when there were no sacrifices (v. 25)
but justice reigned (v. 24). Amos’ words are very clear, and what he says here
will be echoed elsewhere in the Old and New Testaments. This passage and Ho-
sea 6:6; 8:13 are classic texts on the need for religious rites to be backed by up-
right living. As St Thomas teaches, “everything that he sacrifices should partake
in some way of himself […], because external sacrifice is a sign of the internal
disposition by which the person offers himself to God. By making sacrifice, man
also offers up himself” (Summa theologiae, 3, 82, 4). From this it follows that “the
only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering
to the Father’s love and for our salvation (cf. Heb 9:13-14). By uniting ourselves
with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God” (Catechism of the
Catholic Church, 2100).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States

3 posted on 07/01/2014 10:28:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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