July 1, 2016 (Friday of week 13)
You who trample on the needy
Dear friends in Christ, the capitalist world is more of a jungle of survival. There is always a need to fill and for that purpose there is a great struggle for the available resources. This is often not because the resources are not enough to go round but as a result of the greed inherent in human nature which some are able to activate to the extent that they care not about the survival of others. It is beyond the survival of the fittest. It is often about the first to strike and then the winner takes all. Under such a situation, the greater number of people have no chance at all of getting anything.
Our first reading today (Amos 8:4-6.9-12) searches deep into the thoughts of the greedy merchants of the time of Prophet Amos. According to the prophet, this message is addressed to those “Who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country.” I don’t think we need to search very far to find them. They are the shrewd and often wicked business men of the day. Those who will do anything to make profit. They lie about everything and lure unsuspecting customers into buying what they won’t spend their earnings on. Some of them even use religion to deceive people into buying whatever it is they have on the shelves.
The greed in many, make them feel that quality depends on the cost or the price of the material. They want their children in the most expensive of schools, and buy the most expensive of things in the market, at rates far beyond the quality. They build houses they cannot maintain and design a lifestyle that is impossible to maintain from their sweat. They then struggle all their lives to live up to the imaginary standards they have set. To fund it, even religion must serve their purpose. They want Sunday and holy days out of the way, they will rather go for business than religious activities and they say, “When will the new moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?” The next thing is to cheat others, “By lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales.” Even poor traders pour wax into their measure to deceive others. Filling station attendants sell below gauge. People import drugs below quality, goods are imported below standard. Telecommunications companies are doing theirs. Banks are not exempted. Customers are groaning, yet businesses are declaring profits and surpluses.
Amos warned of a time of war, when the sun will go down and the earth darken. It will be a day of sadness for the wicked and it will be a time of mourning. God said in that day, it will be too late to change, because there “will be famine in the country, a famine not of bread, a drought not of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.” There is the need for all of us to seek the face of the Lord while he can be found, to call on him while he is near. It might be late to think of changing in future. The time of mercy is now.
Let us pray: Lord, you taught us that man does not live on bread alone, help us to live on the words that comes from you to save our souls. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.