“Hear this you who have trampled upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.” (Amos, 8.)
I suppose if we were sitting in the temple when this was said, we too would be looking around, like children when a teacher asks, “Who did it.” But the reality is that it is very easy for us both as individuals and as a community to ‘trample’ and not even realize it.
For example, when we gossip or allow a person to gossip in our presence, we trample. When we do not speak up for real injustices in our community or country, we trample. When we do nothing for the poor or spend time with those who are alone, we slowly destroy their humanness and trample on their dignity.
The insidious thing about all these things is that we may not be conscious of the fact that we do them. The readings today are calling us to more conscious living, to being more aware of our life within the parish and within our community.
Do I try to love God and money at the same time, thinking that it doesn’t really matter whether or not I engage my religion in Upper Merion or not. ‘Oh, we’ll just let other ecclesial houses take care of those things.’ Perhaps our gossip really doesn’t destroy our neighbor either, or our rush to judgment doesn’t unjustly condemn.
Wake up my friends! God hears the cry of the poor and His judgment is true. Paul says, “I ask prayers and thanksgivings be offered for everyone that they may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” (Timothy 2)
I cannot serve God and money. Choose God by raising the lowly from the dust of their loneliness and poverty and by lifting up the poor from the dunghill of injustice and fear.