Wednesday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 5: 14-15, 21-24, Matthew 8: 28-34
“Let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream” (Amos 5:24). Jesus assured us that we can produce this unfailing stream. We have only to recall these words recorded in the gospel of John: “Those that drink the water I give will become in that person a flowing fountain that gives eternal life” (Jn 4:14). The source of this flowing water is the pierced side of the one who wept over Jerusalem. Like the master, we are called to be moved with compassion for all who suffer or are lost and cannot find their way. We must keep in mind these words taken from the first letter to the Corinthians: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). We who have been given to drink from the wellsprings of salvation are called to be conduits of justice and reconciliation for the world. The apostle to the gentiles states it quite clearly: “Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with indignation?” (2 Cor. 11:29)
Prejudice and hatred blind us to justice and goodness. Like the Lord, we must recognize the sacredness of everyone. Even those who are trapped by sin and evil are to be treated as God’s beloved children, the work of his hands. The admonition of the prophet Amos is most challenging. It is much easier to condemn a sinner than to seek the image and likeness that is his as a creature of God. Christ conquered sin and death by means of his self-sacrifice. Following his example, we are to lead those in need to the fullness of life in which truth, beauty, and goodness abound.
Through baptism, we have been made sons in the Son. Like the Son, we are to be perfect as the Father is perfect. In this does the Father show his love: “he did not send his one and only son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn. 3:17). Just as the son poured himself out for the salvation of the world, so should we pour ourselves out so that justice might surge like water and goodness like an unfailing stream. We should never be so naive as to ignore the existence of injustice or evil. However, we have the assurance given by the apostle John: “You belong to God and have already won the victory, because the one who lives in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). With this assurance, we can take these words of 1 Peter to heart: “Don’t be hateful and insult people just because they are hateful and insult you. Instead, treat everyone with kindness because this is what you were called to do” (1Pet. 3:9). The following words of MLK Jr. can serve as a guiding light. “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again, and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” My brothers, what we do makes a difference, love makes a difference, hope can be reawakened, evil can be overcome by preferring nothing to the love of Christ.