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13th Week Thursday

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 05-07-18
Amos 7:10-17 / Matthew 9:1-8

Hearing aids are indeed a great help for those who have hearing difficulties or are losing their hearing.
But as much as hearing aids are a great help it can also be rather challenging to use and at times inconvenient.

Besides that occasional screeching noise and the need for fresh batteries, the hearing aid picks up every kind of sound, near and far.
That is because the hearing aid, unlike the human ear, is not discerning nor does it have selective hearing.
On the other hand, our human ear is selective in its hearing as it filters out the unnecessary noises and only lets in what needs to be heard.

Yet at a deeper level, we can be so selective in our hearing that we oppose to what we don't like to hear or react angrily to what disturbs us and makes us uncomfortable.

In the two readings, we see this kind of reaction and opposition.
In the 1st reading, Amaziah the priest of Bethel reacted to Amos by telling him: Go away seer; get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel.

In the gospel, the reaction goes a few notches up as the scribes thought this of Jesus when he proclaimed the forgiveness of the sins of the paralytic: This man is blaspheming.

Primarily, it means that we are not that open to the call of conversion and repentance.
It means that we have to listen to what disturbs us and makes us uncomfortable.
May God open our ears and our hearts so that we may truly thank God for His mercy and forgiveness.

If people don't like to hear bad things said about them, then how would the people of God respond when they hear bad things said about them?
Certainly they, like everyone else, would not like to hear it nor will they be happy to hear it.
But being the people of God, they would also have this responsibility of discerning what was said and how true it is.

In the 1st reading, the prophet Amos prophesied against the people of Israel, and they could no longer tolerate what he was saying.

But there was no denying that Amos spoke the Word of God. The priest Amaziah called him "seer" and told him to go back to Judah to do his prophesying there.

And for not heeding the oracle of the Lord and the prophet, the people of God had to face the consequences.

In the gospel it was the paralytic who listened to the Word of God when Jesus told him - Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.

The paralytic then understood that forgiveness comes before healing and so he opened his heart to forgiveness, and when Jesus told him to get up and walk, he was healed and got up and walked home.
When we acknowledge our sinfulness and the call to repentance, our sins will be forgiven and we too will get up and walk towards Jesus.

May we not let our sinfulness prevent us from listening to the voice of God and the call to repentance.

(Fr. Stephen Yim)