“That’s offensive!” It is stunning how this phrase is used more frequently about even the smallest things in today’s world. Everyone is offended at something. But, has anyone ever said this whenever you’ve spoken an uncomfortable truth, or pro- claimed your faith in Christ? If yes, then fear not, you are not alone. If not, why not?
Our first reading is from the book of the prophet Amos. It is a short book, but full of powerful words. Amos was not very well liked by the people of Israel. Yet, God sent Amos to preach to Israel because they had fallen so far from God’s ways. The name means “burden bearer” and he had quite a burden to carry.
God entrusted this simple farmer, a dresser of sycamore trees (figs) and shepherd, with a message that would be highly unpopular. He had to address to the people God’s grievances against them, against their pride, lust, materialism, greed, infidelity, and many other personal and societal sins people would rather not discuss. Amos also included a warning about God’s coming judgment if they continued with their rebellious and disobedient lifestyles.
Eventually judgment befell Israel and Judah because the people did not heed his words, the Assyrians and the Babylonians attacked Israel and Judah, destroying the temple and sending the people into exile.
But rather than end his preaching there, the prophet Amos also spoke about the day when all of Israel would be united again. Through all this, Amos remained pure of heart, humble, and unafraid. He reflects the fatherly love of God.
The priest of the temple in Bethel, Amaziah, took offense at Amos’ words. Imag- ine, a priest being a offended by God’s word! Yet this is what happened.
“Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God’s command.
With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.
This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, person- ally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world—to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.” (Dr Scott Hahn)
There may be some teachings of Christ and His Holy Bride, the Church, that you take issue with. Rather than rejecting it outright, study it, learn why that teaching is there, and do not be afraid if that means something has to change within you. It might not be easy, but he will see you through the conversion. Just remember, everything Jesus teaches us, and wills for us, is out of love and for our salvation.
Some days the Lord may call on you and send you to preach by word, example, or with your life, in places where you may never have spoken of Him before. To people who may take offense at Him. But he will help you to know what to say, and to learn how to speak His words. He will help you so that sharing His word won’t be so difficult.
Jesus’ own encouragement to us “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me” (Mt 11:6)
God bless you all, Father Robert Letona