1 July 2010. Thursday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 7, 10-17; Psalm 19; Matthew 9, 1-8
During the time of Jesus, people believed that our illnesses were caused by sins. Sickness was God’s way to exact retribution on those who did not follow His will. The first reading illustrated this belief. The prophet Amos proclaimed to the people of Israel that if they disobeyed God, they would be punished. King Jeroboam would die by the sword. The wife of Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, would be made a harlot and his children would also perish. Amaziah’s land would be divided and he would die in an “unclean” hand. And Israel would be exiled. Amos’ prophesies, as we all know today, came true.
To prove that he was authentic, Amos defended himself. He said that he did not belong to the company of prophets. He was a shepherd and a “dresser of sycamore trees.” He did not intend to be a prophet, yet God called him to be his spokesperson. His obedience to God, despite his background, was proof of his sincerity.
To prove that He could forgive sins, Jesus healed the paralytic on a stretcher by making him walk. If one’s disability was caused by sin; therefore the forgiveness of his sins would restore him to health.
But no matter the proof, those who refuse to believe were not convinced.
Some things do not change today. We refuse to believe people who tell us the painful truth. Children tell parents how marital conflicts affect them. But parents often disregard their feedback. Our friends tell us the truth about ourselves and how people are hurt by what we say; but instead of addressing the issue, we attribute it to our traumas and psychological hurts. We therefore do not listen, and often doubt their motivations.
If misfortunes happen, it is not willed by God; not a punishment from God. It is a result of either our decisions or other people’s decisions which affect us.
We often forget that the proof of their sincerity is the very act of telling us the truth, no matter how painful it is. Real friends do not hide the truth from us and seek the right time when we’re ready to listen to them. Friends who please us all the time are not authentic. The proof of our love is seen in our loving. The proof of concern for another is manifested in our effort to help others become better people. The lives of people who lived and died for the faith and found Christ's teachings normative in their lives are the proof of faith. That is why the myriads of Christian martyrs are proof enough; we call them, the cloud of witnesses.