So smug and complacent we become blind
The readings for this weekend come from the prophet Amos, the apostle Paul and Luke the evangelist. What is written below is some background and questions to help you prepare for the readings this weekend.
While a bed made out of ivory hardly seems comfortable, I understand the image of the prophet Amos. The lives of the people to whom Amos preaches have become far too comfortable, far too easy. While they have riches, they are empty and hollow riches that hide their impending doom. When we become complacent, we become blind.
Both the first reading from the prophet Amos and the gospel from Saint Luke discuss the degree to which we allow ourselves to be concerned about the needy and the desperate. The prophet Amos describes the complacency, and the gospel spells out clearly the consequences of being complacent.
Despite seeing the poor beggar day after day, hearts are not moved to offer even the slightest help. A real indictment is that dogs came to lick the sores of Lazarus the beggar. You know it is a sad smugness when dogs are more compassionate than people who claim to believe in God.
I was also struck by the line “compete for the faith” in Saint Paul’s first letter to Saint Timothy, our second reading from today. Imagine if the major competitions in our life were not football games on tv, or baseball, basketball, hockey or boxing, but rather Christians competing for their faith by trying to outdo each other in serving others and following Jesus.
Questions to ponder
As you prepare for the readings this weekend, consider these questions:
In what ways have you become complacent in your faith? Do you take Jesus for granted?
Who are the poor beggars in your life that you pass by each day?
What are some ways you can open yourself to being “shaken by God” out of your complacency?
What would it look like at work, school, in your neighborhood or family if you were really to compete for the faith?