The prophet Amos declares God’s judgment against those who exploit the poor for their own gain. Even so, they may yet turn from their evil in order to “seek the Lord and live,” receiving graciousness from the Lord rather than judgment.
In Mark’s Gospel, a man wants to know from Jesus how to seek the Lord and live. He has kept the commandments of God but for one thing: the invitation of Jesus to sell his possessions and give to the poor reveals a troubled place in his heart (you shall not covet). As always, the issue is not wealth in itself, but the terrible hold our possessions can exert on us which can separate us from the life God asks us to live.
The Letter to the Hebrews affirms the power of God’s word to sort us out and reveal our true motivations. Knowing that none of us can survive such scrutiny without guilt, the letter goes on to assure us of the grace and mercy of Jesus who understands our weaknesses and will help us.
Comment: Not only is the way of life pointed out to us in the words of the prophets, but the very help we need to live as God’s children is given to us in Jesus the Lord. Thanks be to God who loves you and me! The Lord does not abandon us when we fail to whole heartedly love God and our many kinds of neighbor, near and far. Trusting the love of God made visible in Jesus Christ, I can humbly allow God’s word to reveal my faults and correct me, knowing that the purpose of this correction is to prepare me (and you!) for mercy, grace, and life with God.
David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002