What was the first rule of our dear Savior's life? You know it was to do his Father's will. Well, then, the first purpose of our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will. We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty. -- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: (1774 – 1821: was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church)
Scripture Text: (AM 7:10-17)
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam,
king of Israel:
“Amos has conspired against you here within Israel;
the country cannot endure all his words.
For this is what Amos says:
Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be exiled from its land.”
To Amos, Amaziah said:
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now hear the word of the LORD!”
You say: prophesy not against Israel,
preach not against the house of Isaac.
Now thus says the LORD:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city,
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by measuring line,
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
Israel shall be exiled far from its land.
Amos, the Old Testament prophet from whose book we hear in today’s First Reading at the Mass, was considered obnoxious because he preached the need of repentance on the part of everyone in Israel, including the king and the priests. Amaziah tired to get the king to get rid of Amos: not only because he took offense at Amos’ preaching, but also because he held Amos in contempt. Amaziah considered Amos a “nobody”. Amos actually admitted that he was not a prophet in his own right; nor did he belong to the official guild of prophets, which was a considerably large group. Amos was just a shepherd, and a dresser of sycamores. On top of that, Amos was not even from Israel: he was from the southern land of Judah, which had not yet been combined with Israel into one kingdom. So he was a foreigner in Israel.
But in spite of all appearances, Amos had credentials of the highest order. It was the Lord Himself who had taken Amos from the south, to be a prophet in the north. Amos’ worth was not due to his own wisdom, but due only to the fact that the Lord had called him. As the old saying goes, “God does not call those who are qualified. He qualifies those whom He calls.” In other words, we trust, that when the Lord gives us a job to do, He’s also going to give us the grace needed to complete that job. This is true of any small, daily job the Lord might hand one of His sons or daughters. God probably has such a job in mind for you this day: so expect not only that job, but trust that the grace to complete it will be there for you also.