The prophet and the national feast

“I hate, I spurn your feasts.”
Amos 5:21

In most of the world, outside the US, the first reading for Mass is from the prophet Amos, 5: 14-15, 21-24. Reading Amos is not the most patriotic way to celebrate the feast of the Independence of the US. Amos did not mince words, but spoke up for the poor and oppressed, in the face of patriotic piety and a pious patriotism that melded the nation of Israel with a religiosity that said little or nothing about justice and the poor.

“Let justice prevail at the gate,” where pleas for justice were heard, proclaims the prophet.

Where is there justice, especially for those at the margins, at the borders? Does justice prevail or do we face, in the words of the prophet Daniel Berrigan, “the dark side of imperial ‘normalcy’.”

According to the code of palace and temple, it is normal that integrity be despised and just judges be derided (or removed) normal that the weak be crushed and ruinous tithes imposed, normal that oppressors and extortionists flourish.
(Minor prophets: Major Themes, pp.144-145)

The solution is simple, says Amos 5:24:

…let justice surge like water,
and goodness/righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

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