A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Most favored nation

In today's first reading (Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12), the Lord speaks bluntly to the people of Israel:

You only have I known
of all the families of the earth:
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

This may at first sound a bit strange and unfair: is God's knowledge limited and is he punishing only the people he happens to know?

The full sense of what is traditionally translated as "known" is something more than simple cognitive acquisition: it implies selection, favor, and even intimacy. One modern translation puts it this way:

You alone have I favored,
more than all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.

What the Lord said to the people of Israel thousands of years ago he also says to us.

The nations in which each of us live have been favored in different ways, some more than others. By coincidence, this reading happens to fall on the United States' Independence Day, but this should be no cause for Americans to be defensive or non-Americans to be smugly accusatory.

Insofar as each of us have been favored, as nations and as individuals, we need to be repentant of our failures and to be resolute in making use of the favors God has given us for his greater glory and for the good of our brethren.

By the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may we be always worthy of the favor of God.