You might have been wondering
what the Prophet Amos was describing in the first reading.
When he says, “diminish the ephah, add to the shekel,”
he’s talking about inflation.
When he says, “we will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals”—
he is talking about how being poor
is also about not having power.
Fifty years ago, when I-75
was routed through Cincinnati,
it destroyed whole neighborhoods.
But it managed to avoid all the really nice ones.
Funny how that worked!
When Amos refers to being eager
for “the new moon” to be over,
he’s talking about how work and business
encroach on the Sabbath.
Nowadays, there is no Sabbath anymore—
no day of rest. We’ve destroyed it.
The funny thing is, we often take the attitude
that God is putting a burden on us by saying,
“keep holy the Sabbath.”
But remember: the Sabbath was given
to the Children of Israel, who were in slavery in Egypt.
A day of rest is a day of freedom.
One reason we have the commandment
to go to Mass on Sunday—
and it a commandment,
and it’s a mortal sin to miss Mass
if we don’t have a good reason—
Is so that we remember
who gives us freedom from slavery: Christ!
So what else is the Prophet Amos saying to us?
Helping the poor is not only charity--giving them help--
which we do through our St. Vincent de Paul Fund.
And I might mention here that we need more in that fund.
Helping the poor is also about social justice.
That means addressing the structure of society:
Having an economy that creates jobs and opportunity,
Having a path out of poverty?
St. Paul calls us to pray for those in authority.
We can do something Paul never could:
We can choose those people.
We have power over our elected officials, if we use it.
So what are we going to say
to the candidates for governor,
the legislature and for Congress?
Every one us has the right—and therefore, the duty—
to tell them where we stand and what we expect.
You have to be 18 to vote;
but every one of us has freedom of speech.
So those of us under 18,
why not write these folks a letter?
Go to a rally and meet them?
I was 16 when I worked for a candidate the first time.
What will we tell them?
How about, “what are you going to do to create jobs?”
How about, “will you defend the rights
of the weakest and smallest, including the poor,
the elderly, and the unborn child?”
I can think of a lot more questions, and so can you.
In the Gospel, the Lord talked about stewardship.
We’re stewards of this parish:
So in the bulletin you see a report on parish finances.
Everything we do in our parish, our school,
our religious education program, we do thanks to you.
I have the help of pastoral council and finance committee and many others,
in order for me to be a steward of this parish; a steward of your gifts.
In the next few weeks,
you’re going to be hearing more from your fellow parishioners
about some of the big ticket items
we need to address with our school, our church and grounds,
and about how we are going to address them.
Being stewards of this parish isn’t just my duty,
or the duty of some—but every one of us.
And as citizens, we’re stewards of our community
and our country.
We often ask, “what are they going to do”--
the pastor, the pastoral council, the city, those folks in D.C.
Instead, we might ask, “what am I going to do?
In the Name of Christ, in the Power of Christ,
For the Kingdom of Christ, what will I do?"