It is not only the case that the prophet can be reluctant to ply his trade at the bidding of the Lord, but also that the people to him he is sent may not be receptive to his message. In either case there is an impasse and the Gospel fails to reach the hearts of those for whom it is intended. Now we can do nothing about another’s choice of whether he or she will listen, however, like Amos we can persevere in the mission that we have been given as long as we possibly can.

The priests at Bethel are not interested in listening to Amos because the heart of what Amos is saying is directed at them and calling them to repentance and conversion! If they listen and respond they will lose their privileged way of life and they do not seem to be willing to do this. The message of Amos falls on ears that have been deliberately made deaf. It is not Amos’ fault and nor is it ours if people choose not to listen to us as long as we are faithfully living the Gospel that we are proclaiming. It is our fault if people do not listen to us because we are hypocrites.

Amos was always going to have a hard time in Bethel as the people there considered themselves something like the intellectual and cultural elite of Israel. Amos is a country lad with little or no education in the ways courtly life and so on. Yet, it is Amos to whom the Lord goes; it is Amos He chooses to bring His word to the people. There is hope for us all yet! If God can choose Amos, then He probably has a plan for each of us as well, no matter our level of education or cultural sensitivity. The key thing that the Lord looks for in a messenger is a willing and obedient mind and heart. He does not need the smartest and richest and most cultural of people. He needs and works with those who realize their need for god and are willing to take the Good News of His love and forgiveness to the world.

Does this ring a bell in your heart? What is your disposition toward the Gospel? There is a great need in the Church for those willing to take up the call, even if it is for a limited time, and give their time and talent to missionary endeavors. Perhaps it is your turn to follow in the footsteps of the saints and prophets of the years gone by.

Can you spare the time in the plans that you have for the future to dedicate a year to the service of the Church? Why not consider this as a possibility for you?

Jesus, you gave up your life for me in service of the Gospel. I hope and pray for the grace to be able to repay you in my own limited way by giving myself in the service of the Church in way you ask me to do so.