This reading begins with a vision of abundance. We can almost taste the sweetness of the summer fruit. We can almost see it glistening in the summer light. But then the Lord proceeds to tell Amos, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by.” It is as if the basket of fruit is meant to remind them of the promise God made to Israel in bringing them out of Egypt to the land “flowing with milk and honey”. It is the life they were promised as part of God’s covenant.
Of course, for a covenant to hold, both parties must uphold their end of it. Israel has turned from God’s way, trampling on the needy and bringing ruin to the poor. They are going through the motions of the sabbath, anxious for it to be over so they can get back to making money rather than using it as a time for restoration and reconnection with God. Because of this, God will no longer “pass them by”. In essence, God will allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions and, since they’re not listening anyway, stop speaking to them.
What industries in the world today trample on the needy or bring ruin to the poor? To what degree do you think these practices have contributed to the violence, hatred, division, and lack of hope that we are seeing in our world today? How might we, as people of faith, work for change in these industries? What is our personal responsibility towards caring for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized? How might tending to these needs restore relationship with God and with each other, making us more ready to hear the voice of God?
In prayer, consider what God might be speaking into your life right now and pray for the openness to not only hear it, but to be transformed by it.