Homily July 12, 2015 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today, again we meet those who prophesy or witness. But first we meet Amaziah, the priest to the king of Israel, that is the Northern kingdom. Amaziah was an appeaser, a status quo, a statesman more than a priest. His service was to the king to the status quo, to maintain the peace and prosperity of the times, which ignored the covenant and led to decadence and God sending Amos to warn that they were putting their trust in the wrong place. Who was Amos? He was a simple shepherd and dresser of sycamores. As we said previously, God chose who he wanted, not who we would expect. Amaziah the priest, blinded by riches and a king who supposedly provided all his needs, could not see the voice or spirit of God. In fact, he drove him away. In the gospel, we see Jesus choose and send out his apostles, two at a time to witness and drive out spirits and to anoint with oil and heal those who were sick. While we know possession by spirits was not an uncommon thing, we also know that those who were sick were often called possessed by one spirit or another. But note that Jesus sent them as witnesses who were plain and simple men without food or money, or extra clothing but simply open to hospitality and recipients of the good will their message generated. When they were received they were supposed to stay in one place and preach an witness before moving on. If rejected, they were to shake the dust and remnants of where they were off and move on forgetting that they were ever there.
Like old time, rejection of God’s word brought on it own results from their abandonment of God. One thing to remember as we share the stories of Amos and the Apostles, that their mission of witness whether to the king and court of Israel or the people of the countryside in Jesus’ time, was a success that was best measured by the sender and not the messenger or the prophet or the witness. The spirit uses real men and women to witness and remind, yet ultimately only he knows the results. A word, a thought, a gesture, a kindness might be a moment the spirit acts through us and fulfills a witnessing we are called to give.
Remember as God acts, he sees the results and knows success even if we never see or experience what has resulted. We are to witness, to be faithful to his word, stand apart from what doesn’t belong to that.