I don't know how many of you remember the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel from last Sunday. Prophets sometimes predict the future, but most of the time they tried to direct God's people to live by God's commandments. Their efforts to do so were not always appreciated. Today in our first reading we hear from the prophet Amos who lived over 700 years before Christ. At that time in Israel there were people who made a career out of being prophets. Whether called by God or not, they would speak for God, telling people how to solve their problems, giving them advice, predict the future, etc., all for an appropriate fee. You can imagine that these professional prophets would tend not to be offensive people or say anything that could possibly be upsetting or they might not get paid. As he says in today's first reading, the prophet Amos was not one of these professionals. He was a farmer but God called him to go to Bethel, a major city in Israel, to confront the people about their sinful lives and to warn them that their immoral living would lead to their destruction. His blunt and honest message did not make people happy, and the high priest there told him to "get out of town." Today's passage prepares the way for the gospel where Jesus sends his apostles out to preach and warns them they may not always be welcome.
Fr. Alex Urena