Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blast from the past... but still all to relevant...

Three years ago, while preparing for our Adult Formation session on the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, I stumbled across this article that was published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram:  Long Beach Private Jet Firm Fields Strange Requests from High Flying Clients

Take a moment and read this article... then come back here...

After reading this article, the spirit of Amos so seized me that I was compelled to write the following supplemental commentary.  I wanted to share it with you here because I fear we're still not listening to the warnings of this important prophet:

Originally sent 24 Sep 2016:

Preparing people to become Catholic through the RCIA process is a challenging task.  Week after week we cover topics that the Church considers important to your formation in the faith, but the reality is that we could never possibly cover everything.  It's a classic case of, "the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know."  The best the RCIA can do is to give you a solid introduction while also giving you the tools you will need for life-long learning and spiritual growth.

Deciding which topics are "important" is always a challenging task, and as is the case with everything, context and situational awareness helps us to see what our readings are trying to teach us so we can apply those lessons to our daily lives.  In reading this morning's Long Beach PressTelegram, I found this article which I think you all need to read:

While this article was meant to be a light-hearted piece, part of a series of articles exposing readers to some of the more unusual jobs some people have,  all I could hear was the prophet Amos screaming in my ear from this week's readings:
...Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,...

Clearly the clientele of this small airline are somewhat particular... and why shouldn't they be, they're paying for it, right?  They just want what they want.  At the same time, however, I have to ask, at what point are they being totally unreasonable?  At what point do these people cease to be human beings contributing to the common good, and become as Amos would say, the complacent of Zion... those who anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!

When discussing the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures it's all too easy to for us to dismiss what they're saying as not being relevant to our lives and times.  Yet we forget that the very reason these writings are still around some 3000 years later is because they remain completely relevant.  Amos wasn't thinking about 21st Century Long Beach when he was preaching... he was reacting to what he saw around him in 7th Century Judah.  As it turns out, however, Amos was proved right when Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE and those same complacent ones were killed or sent into exile in Babylon.  Similarly, Amos was proved right again when the Babylonian Empire fell... when the Greek Empire fell... when the Roman Empire fell...

The voice of Amos is still crying out from the grave as we look at our society today.  Are we listening?

Please take a moment to review the readings for this week, as well as this article.  It should make for some interesting discussion during our session.

No comments:

Post a Comment