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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Good and Evil (Thought for the Day Part 16)

Today’s reading: Amos 5:14-24

“Seek good and not evil” (v.14a). This is a basic prescription, “that you may live” (v.14b). But this right posture is so crucial to our lives that it has to be stated even more strongly. “Hate evil and love good” (v.15a). We are to engage good and evil with our deepest and most passionate emotions.

Now we know what is good and what is evil, right? Don’t be so sure.

If we celebrate Church feasts and solemnities, if we make offerings to the Lord, if we worship with music and song, all that is good, right? Yes, by themselves they are good. However, the Israelites did these things but the Lord rejected and despised them (v.21-23). Why? They did not “let justice prevail at the gate” (v.15b). They worshipped but oppressed their fellowmen. Being right with God, being righteous, is about justice. “Rather let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.” (v.24). If the waters of justice surge, then the stream of righteousness will be unfailing.

What is justice? It is giving to the other what is his due. To God is due awe and worship. To our neighbor is due love and caring. To the poor is due an equitable share of the world’s goods. If we withhold these, then we are unjust. We would even end up as oppressors.

Further, as God’s people, we are to be His instruments in accomplishing His will for the life of the world. Are we? How else might we be unjust?

* We are sent forth to evangelize, to share Christ, and if we do not obey, then, since God depends on us to bring in His harvest, we in effect will be depriving people of the salvation Jesus already won for them.

* Our community depends on our tithes to finance its mission, so if we do not give what we should, then we are robbing God as well as hindering the mission given us by God.

* When we gossip (murder according to Pope Francis) or malign others, we deprive them of dignity or respect in the eyes of peers.

* When we handle disagreements in community in the wrong way, when we become dissidents, we deprive the body of the unity and peace it needs in order to be an effective army that will engage the enemy.

* Jesus tells us that when we visit those in prison then we visit him. Not all of us will have the opportunity to minister in prisons, but all of us can help those who do so. Like through G10K. If we do not, we deprive prisoners of what God would want them to receive through us. And oh yes, we would deprive ourselves of the salvation we think we already have, as we join the goats and not the sheep. “What will the day of the Lord mean for you? It will be darkness, not light!” (v.18b).

You get the drift. You do pray, you do attend meetings, you do serve, but if you are unjust, then all of this might be for naught.

Do you want to really be right with God? Then seek good and not evil, nay, love good and hate evil. You want to be really righteous? Then do justice. “Then truly the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you as you claim.” (v.14c).

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