Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Woe to you who grind up the poor!

Pardon me if I sound like Amos, but I did think that it might be in order to remember those parts of the bible that the far right wing evangelicals seem to avoid. Here are two amazing passages. In the former passage we have the prophetic warning from Amos to those who "take their ease in ivory palaces". By the way, a prophecy, biblically speaking, in not soothsaying about the future, it is a warning against an injustice. In this case the ruin of Jacob and the impending exile are connected to economic injustice. Read the passage for yourself.

Amos 6

Complacent Self-Indulgence Will Be Punished

Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock,
and calves from the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and like David improvise on instruments of music; who drink wine from bowls,
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

The Lord God has sworn by himself (says the Lord, the God of hosts): I abhor the pride of Jacob
and hate his strongholds;
and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.

See, the Lord commands,
and the great house shall be shattered to bits,
and the little house to pieces. But you have turned justice into poison
and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood— you who rejoice in Lo-debar,
who say, ‘Have we not by our own strength
taken Karnaim for ourselves?’ Indeed, I am raising up against you a nation,
O house of Israel, says the Lord, the God of hosts, and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath
to the Wadi Arabah.

I do sometimes wonder how God looks upon a land that turns a cold shoulder against the poor.

And here is yet another passage from the Gospels. I must remind you, the sin is not in being rich, the sin is turning away from the sorrow and the suffering of the poor. Read this one. Why are these passages and stories not told to us by the tele-vangelists?

Rich Man and Lazarus

‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’

I love the irony here..."even if someone should rise from the dead..." Did anyone tell this fellow that Someone did!

A blessing on the just!

Fr. Paul

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