Today’s readings carried on with last week’s theme of what it means to be a prophet. In the first reading Amos is told to take his preaching elsewhere. Again we’re reading about a prophet, like Jesus, who wasn’t appreciated in his own home town. But in Amos we see someone who is more like the common man, not the Son of Man. Here he was, minding his own business, tending his sheep and raising figs. Suddenly he hears God’s call to share the Word with his people. The people of his era, much like the people of ours, want none of it. They became deaf to God’s Word once the innocence of childhood left them.
I equate Amos’s experience with that of the nuns and PSR teachers who share God’s word with our children as they go through grade school. These prophets impart to the kids what it means to live God’s Word. Unfortunately, once our kids (all of us, really) leave the sanctuary of grade school and the shelter of their families, the secular world overshadows the light of the simple truths they were taught and the prophets who taught them are suddenly seen as simpletons and objects of humor and satire.
I must admit that I went through the same phase of gravitating to worldly sophistication after leaving school and going out on my own. Then I started my own family and my innocence came back to me, delivered by three prophets by the name of Maryann, Matt and Marty. Now that I’m in my 50s I realize I’ve been re-schooled about God’s Word during the course of raising my family. The Mass is my continuing education.
Today I reflect on the truth of simplicity introduced by those nuns in my childhood and their image in my memory doesn’t seem comical any more. Seen in the light of the Holy Spirit, as reflected in my wife and sons, God’s Word overpowers the dark shadows that bathe the secular world in sophistication. Like Amos, we are all called to come out from those shadows, bask in the light of truth and grow in spirituality. That’s the calling of the Christian family.