Saturday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 382

Yes, days are coming, says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel; they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities,
Plant vineyards and drink the wine,
set out gardens and eat the fruits.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.

The Prophet Amos, the first of "the writing prophets," may be the dourest of them all. He gives gloom and doom a bad name.
However, in his last chapter, he allows some sunshine to peek through his dark clouds. He speaks of "the restoration of my people Israel."
What is implicit throughout the Bible becomes perfectly clear in the writings of Saint Paul: we receive blessings from God not because we are entitled or worthy, but because God is good. We will not have done enough penance before the Day of the Lord to acquit ourselves or atone for our sins. Our sufferings might be deep and overwhelming but they will not be sufficient.
That sufficiency can only come from God, specifically through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As I have been reading theologians who speak of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, I've come to a better understanding of the "Father" whose generosity is pure and superabundant. The initiative of grace is entirely with the Father. He blesses us through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
All creation is called out of nothingness by the Father's initiative. He does not shape matter into life; he breathes life into nothingness and life springs into being.
Likewise, the good works we do, insufficient as they are in the face of overwhelming evil, would mean nothing except for God's blessing them. First they spring into being because God has created them through us; and he has made them bear fruit by his Holy Spirit.
Blessed John Duns Scotus taught that the Lord has laid his finger upon our good works and made them a thousand-times fruitful. That is why the Church manages to survive from generation to generation despite the ineptness of its clergy and the indifference of its faithful. God will be neither frustrated nor disappointed.
With that confidence we soldier on, even as we hear Amos' scolding and Jeremiah's jeremiads. God has already won the victory for us.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.