Amos 7:12-15; Ps 85 Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
Today we get to meet Amos, who is a salty prophet of God who does back down from anyone. He is addressing the sins of the northern kingdom and basically telling them for the oppression of the common folk, God will bring havoc down upon them.
Northern kingdom had separated from the south and the descendants of David. They consist of ten tribes of Israel while the other two remained faithful to David and his descendants. They have refused to let the people go to Jerusalem to fulfill their religious obligations. They have set up their own shrines in the north and established there own rules and regulations and restrictions in regards to how the people can worship and practice their faith in God. Things have gotten out of hand.
God sends Amos to dole out justice.
These idolatrous shrines have to go and Amos is God's chosen mouth piece. Amaziah, a government official of the king of the north, is trying to tell Amos to mind his own business. He tells Amos to take a hike and to get lost.
It is amazing how government officials seem to always interfere in things above their pay scale, like the ways of God and God's command. The more Amaziah talks the less Amos listens. We need to channel our inner Amos more and more these days.
Unlike Amaziah, Amos was not working for pay, rather he was working for God.
What Amos tells Amaziah is basically that minding God's business means sometimes you have to stick your nose in other people's business because it all belongs to God anyway.
Then we get to the gospel where Jesus sends out the twelve two by two. He sends them out to the villages with authority over unclean spirits. They are asked to divest themselves of material wealth (take nothing on the journey-no food, no sack, no money in their belts) this way material wealth can't distract them from the task at hand and their spiritual vision would be sharper and more precise as they seek to fulfill their duty.
How often does material wealth or our focus on material goods interfere with a life of devotion to God?
The one thing Jesus doesn't tell the disciples is "to mind their own business." In fact, the very commission of the disciples and sending them forth necessarily means they will stick their nose in everybody's business. They will have to enter the homes and the lives of the villagers in order to bring them the good news. The disciples are going to reek havoc in the "right to privacy" of individuals.
When it comes to preaching the truth in love then privacy gets tossed out. Their is no privacy when truth is concerned. Liberty and freedom as we know is a perversion of truth. It isn't liberty that trumps truth but rather truth that purifies and perfects liberty, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciple, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
This is where Amos finds his strength to stand his ground. This is the strength of the twelve as they go forth. It also must become the center of our life as well.
It is truth that brings freedom not the other way around. Liberty without truth is licentiousness. Licentiousness is certainly what has become the cancer in our society today.
So when people tell us to mind our own business we need to be like Amos and the twelve. A life of goodness remains undone when we simply mind our own business.
Remember the words of Jesus as child to Mary and Joseph when they find him in the temple, "should I not be about my Father's business."
We need to stick our nose in the business of others. This is the only way we can truly proclaim the gospel for the praise of the glory of God as St Paul reminds us in the second reading.
Like Amos and the twelve we have been chosen as St Paul reminds us. We have been chosen for a task. Truth trumps and perfects liberty. This is our message as a disciple of Christ.