Readings for July 15, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
Todays’ first reading is from one of the earliest of the prophetic books, the Book of Amos. Dating from the 8th century B.C., the book of Amos concerns the era when the Jewish kingdom of King David is divided into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom called Israel, and the southern kingdom called Judah.
Amos is from Judah, the southern kingdom, but is sent by God to preach in the northern kingdom, Israel. This explains why Amaziah, priest of the north’s holiest place in Bethel, demands that Amos go back where he came from. Amaziah detests the content of Amos’ prophesies; Amos condemns in no uncertain terms Israel’s religious infidelity and social injustice. Specifically, Amos accuses the Israelites of abandoning authentic worship of the Lord because they have set up their own temple in Bethel, which is in Israel, and no longer worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. And even worse, the Israelites have enthroned an idol in the form of a golden calf in their temple in Bethel, thus violating the First Commandment, “Thou shall have no foreign gods among you.” Read more »