As I reflected of the words of the prophet Amos today, my thoughts turned to the committee that is investigating the violence that occurred on January 6 at the Capitol of the United States. People who were enlisted to witness before the committee spoke of the egregious abuse of power. In the words of the prophet Amos, “They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way.”
What if Adam and Eve didn’t sin? What would have come of it all? Don’t get me wrong: Eden must have been a nice place, but was it to be the end of the story? In any case, it was to be just the beginning of the human story. We have no way of knowing God’s Plan A, at this point, now after Adam and Eve provoked Plan B, i.e., the “after the fall” scenario.
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In my years as a priest, I have been so blessed to have so many tell me of how they have been found by the Good Shepherd and how they have come to know Him. It’s impressive, that while each story is so personal and particular, these testimonies share something in common that is true and that I have found my own personal experience confirms.
Sixteen centuries after Saint John rested near the Heart of Jesus at the Last Supper (cf. Jn. 13:23), Our Lord extended the same invitation to a simple nun of the Visitation Convent of Paray-le-Monial, France. On December 27, 1673, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and invited her to repose upon His breast. Opening His Heart to her, He revealed His deeply personal love, giving Margaret Mary, like Saint John, a new name: “the beloved disciple of My Sacred Heart.”
I found it curious that along with Jesus and Mary, the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is one of three birthdays on the Church’s calendar. I know what the Scriptures tell us about his life, but I am still not entirely certain why he is so important and ranks up there with Peter, Paul, and some of the Old Testament prophets.
In the gospel today, Jesus said to His disciples, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” They are with us still, preying on the elderly while others promote political or religious thought that is deceptive.