Weekly Readings July/August/September 2020

These reflections on the weekday Bible readings are by Canon Mervyn Tower, parish priest of Corpus Christi, Headington, Oxford.

Wednesday 1 July
Week 13 in Ordinary Time
Amos 5.14–15,21–24
Psalm 49
Matthew 8.28–34

Amos, from the mid-eighth century BCE, consistently demands total renewal. The first two verses both contrast good and evil, addressing above all the merchants. Goodness is to be displayed in justice at the city gate, an area of activity and commerce, as can be seen still today at, for example, the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Feasts, with their sacrifices and music, are nothing compared to justice and integrity. These words have a similar meaning and are ultimately attributes of God himself that must be shown by human beings. The parallel images of ‘water’ and ‘stream’ are powerful. While other aspects of life might come and go, justice must always be flowing (First Reading: Amos 5.14–15,21–24). Matthew has two demoniacs rather than the one of the other Gospels. His account is shorter than that in Mark, but the response of the people is similar. They are clearly frightened of the power of Jesus, perhaps indicating that they do not want any profound change to their way of life (Gospel: Mt 8.28–34).

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