13th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Am 7:10-17
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, then sent word to King Jeroboam of Israel, “Amos is conspiring against you in the very center of Israel; what he says goes too far. These are his very words: Jeroboam shall die by the sword and Israel shall be exiled from its land.” Amaziah then said to Amos, “Off with you, seer, go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there by prophesying. But never again prophesy at Bethel for it is a king’s sanctuary and a national shrine.”
Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet or one of the fellow-prophets. I am a breeder of sheep and a dresser of sycamore trees. But Yahweh took me from shepherding the flock and said to me: Go, prophesy to my people Israel.
Now hear the word of Yahweh, you who say: No more prophecy against
Israel, no more insults against the family of Isaac! This is what Yahweh says:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city, your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword, your land shall be divided up and given to others, and you yourself shall die in a foreign land, for Israel shall be driven far from its land.”
Gospel: Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to his hometown. Here they brought a paralyzed man to him, lying on a bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”
Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man insults God.” Jesus was aware of what they were thinking, and said, “Why have you such evil thoughts? Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? You must know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” He then said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home.” The man got up, and went home.
When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe and praised God for giving such power to human beings.
By the end of the story Jesus had rearranged everything: the demons have gone into the pigs, which in turn have gone into the water. Jews had a great fear of water – for them the sea was the abode of Leviathan, the monster of the deep – as it was appropriate that the pigs should end up there. Besides it also was fatal to demons so it was right that they should end up there. Thus, Jesus restores everything to its proper place, and establishes right order. But the other order could be said to be “right” too in a sense. The local people were happy with it. They begged Jesus to go away: he had upset the arrangement of the world. That makes me think: what are the arrangements in my life that seem “right” to me (at least in the sense of being familiar), but which are not right at all?
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