Day 179: Blinded by Comfort

2 Kings 11:1-20 Athaliah, mother of the slain king Ahaziah of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM) assumed the throne and sought to destroy the Davidic line, but one infant son of Ahaziah, Joash, was spirited to safety in the Temple so as to keep God’s promise alive. When he was seven, he was anointed king secretly by the priest Jehoiada, and Athaliah was slain when she happened upon the ceremony. With Jehoiada’s urging, the people renewed the covenant with God and destroyed the house of Baal.


Ch 12:1-21 When he came of age, Joash used the Temple offerings to perform necessary repairs to the building; however, he failed to eradicate idolatry from Judah, as the pagan Canaanite towers and pillars remained. Eventually he was assassinated in a coup.


Amos 4:1-13 The women of Samaria were reproached for encouraging their husbands to engage in treacherous acts of pillaging so that they might live in comfort. Israel was chided for its idolatrous worship at the shrines of Gilgal and Bethel where statues of golden calves had been erected. The Lord reminded Israel of his many demonstrations of love in eliciting their repentance, but to no avail. Even the severe punishments imposed on the Chosen People did not result in full repentance and conversion.


Ch 5:1-25 Amos reiterated the Lord’s call for repentance and justice. The only hope for Israel’s restoration was conversion back to God and his laws. Otherwise, they would be doomed to oppression and a life of turmoil.


Ch 5:14-15 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live: This exhortation is strongly reminiscent of the words of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy (6:2; 30:19). Choosing God’s Commandments over sinful actions is equivalent to choosing life over death. (CCC 309-311, 1706)


Ch 5:21-25 God does not desire the performance of mere external rituals such as burnt offerings but the interior disposition to choose habitually to keep God’s laws. For religious worship to be pleasing, it must be accompanied by interior dispositions of love for God and neighbor. The paramount importance of charity and compassion are expressed by the words, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13, 12:7; cf. Hos 6:6). These verses serve as an ideal instruction to prepare for the coming of Christ and the establishment of his New Covenant of grace and charity. (CCC 1435, 2100)


Ch 6:1-14 These words contrast the wealth and luxurious lifestyles of a few with the multitude of downtrodden people in desperate need of the basic necessities for a dignified life. Wealth in itself is morally neutral. Riches are a source of evil, however, when used to satisfy greed and separate the heart from love of God and neighbor. Those blessed with an abundance of material resources are especially obligated to assist those less fortunate. (CCC 1723, 2552)


Ch 6:12 Justice into poison: St. Francis de Sales used this phrase to demonstrate the effects of a corrupt and sinful heart: “There are some bitter, sour hearts, debased by sinful nature, which poison and debase everything they touch. As the prophet says, they have turned justice into poison; they judge others severely and without clemency. These people need to place themselves in the care of a good spiritual physician.” (Introduction to the Devout Life, 28)


Psalm 122 For ancient Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM), Jerusalem served both as the religious center and a political capital, thus uniting the tenets of Jewish faith and morals into civil governance. Since the heart of the covenant between God and his people was moral law, the legislation of social justice effectively serving the common good was a wonderful feature of Jewish society. A good system of justice fosters peace, and it is no mere coincidence that “Jerusalem” means “City of Peace.” (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, October 12, 2005)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • So today was a bit of a review in 2 Kings Chs 11-12

  • We can’t seem to get rid of Athaliah, eh?

  • Ok now we have and won’t hear from her anymore

  • We heard about her in 2 Chronicles and now we are in 2 Kings

  • Athaliah is reigning over Judah and kills all of the descendants of Ahaziah except for Jehoash….

  • Wait, who is JEHOASH?

  • I know who JOASH is!

  • JEHOASH in 2 Kings is the SAME PERSON as JOASH in 2 Chronicles

  • Jehoash and Joash are THE SAME (And for today’s notes, I will use JOASH so as to avoid any confusion whenever Fr. Mike refers to JEHOASH because remember, THEY ARE THE SAME 😁)

  • Joash became king at 7 years old

  • When he was guided by Jehoiada, the priest, he was doing good things

  • When Jehoiada dies, Joash did not continue the work that the priest had started him on

  • Joash recognized that the Temple of the Lord, the place of worship, was falling into disrepair

  • There were supposed to be tithes given to the priests who were supposed to use it for repairing the Temple

  • That’s not how things worked out

  • They got the money, but didn’t do anything with it

  • People were still giving money, but it wasn’t being used WISELY

  • Joash saw that and made sure that the money would be used for repairs

  • BUT…

  • Joash did not tear down the false places of worship

  • Because of that, he ends poorly

  • So many of God’s people START WELL

  • So many of God’s people END POORLY

  • Joash is one of those

  • This could be any one of us and so we continue to pray and ask the Lord for His Grace

  • Amos Chs 4-6 he is calling people higher

  • This is the role of the prophets

  • He is telling the future of what is going to happen

  • But what he’s also telling them WHAT IS HAPPENING

  • This is what prophets do

  • They tell the TRUTH OF GOD to the people who NEED to hear the truth

  • What do we hear in these chapters?

  • Fr. Mike gets so ahead of himself and gets so excited (Yeah, I’ve noticed. Imagine what it’s like to write these notes 😉)

  • Amos 4:1, “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan…”

  • That’s not very nice to call ladies cows 😉

  • “...who are in the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’”

  • There is this conviction that Amos has basically saying, “Ok God has blessed you so much and all you are doing with that blessing is you are using it to serve yourselves.

  • All you are doing with the blessings of God’s gifts is like those priests during the time of Joash.

  • You are not using it to build the Temple.

  • You are not using it to help the poor.

  • You are using it just to simply SERVE YOURSELVES.”

  • In Amos 5:21, “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings, I will not accept them.”

  • WHY?

  • Because they are NOT BEING JUST

  • Because they are NOT TAKING CARE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • Because they are NOT TAKING CARE OF THE POOR

  • This is something powerful and true for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US

  • Keep in mind...

  • In Israel (NORTHERN KINGDOM), they were not worshiping God in the way they were called to

  • Even if they weren’t worshiping God in the way they were called to, but their hearts were in the right place and they were taking care of the people around them, then maybe God would still accept their offerings

  • But they weren’t even doing THAT

  • Amos 6:1, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria…”

  • Amos 6:4,” Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the midst of the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David invent for themselves instruments of music; who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils…”

  • We will get to the last line of that verse in a moment...

  • Here are a people of COMFORT

  • Many of us who live in a temperature controlled world where if it’s a little too cool, we turn the heat up

  • If it’s a little too hot, we turn on the cool

  • If our beds are a little lumpy, we get a new one

  • We eat calves from the midst of the stall, not just food, but the BEST FOOD

  • We sing idle songs from the sound of the harp

  • We are constantly being entertained

  • We drink wine in bowls

  • Whenever we read Amos 6 in Mass, this line always sticks out

  • You’re not even drinking wine out of glasses, you are drinking wine out of BOWLS

  • This is the INDULGENCE, and the COMFORT, and the EXTRAVAGANCE that we are living amidst

  • This is modern 21st century western life

  • It might not be ALL OF US listening

  • Everyone listening are in so many different socio-economic strata, different places in the world, so it may not be YOUR experience

  • AND YET...

  • It is the experience of A LOT of the cultures that are participating in this Bible in a Year

  • This is the conviction of Amos, who needs to convict OUR HEARTS

  • You may say, “That’s not me!!”

  • Ok, maybe it’s not

  • BUT…

  • If it MIGHT be you or me, it’s WORTH PRAYING THAT PRAYER

  • IT MIGHT BE ME

  • MAYBE I AM INCLINED TO COMFORT MORE THAN I AM INCLINED TO JUSTICE

  • MAYBE I AM MORE INCLINED TO DISTRACTING MYSELF MORE THAN I AM INCLINED TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • So we have all these comforts, “but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!”

  • I told you we would get to that last line in that verse of Amos 6 😉

  • So what does that line about Joseph mean?

  • Remember, the Northern Kingdom of Israel is also called Ephraim

  • Those relatives of Joseph, these people of Israel

  • They were not grieved over the ruin of the PEOPLE AROUND THEM

  • They were not grieved over the fact that they TURNED AWAY FROM THE LORD

  • They were not grieved over the fact that the POOR GO UNFED

  • They were not grieved over the fact that those that were WRONGFULLY CONVICTED GO WITHOUT JUSTICE

  • And here we are IN COMFORT

  • ALL OF US…

  • All of us are called, obviously, by the prophets TO GO HIGHER

  • All of us are called by the prophets TO BE CONVICTED BY THE LORD’S VOICE IN WHATEVER WAY HE IS CALLING US TO BE CONVICTED TODAY

  • You may not be someone who drinks wine out of bowls

  • You may not be someone who stretches out on beds of ivory

  • You may not be someone who is overly comforted

  • BUT…

  • There is something in ALL OF OUR LIVES that leads us to IGNORE the plight of THOSE AROUND US

  • So every one of us NEEDS A PROPHET

  • Right now, the prophet that God has given us is the Prophet Amos

  • “Where, God, are you calling me to open my eyes, to not be blind to the needs of those around me? To not be deaf to the cries of those around me, but to see YOU in THEM? To serve you as well as worship you, but to serve you in those who are poor, to serve you among those who need me?”

  • THEY NEED US

  • St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “The reason we have no peace is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (Does this sound familiar to you? Go read Day 80: Cities of Refuge for a refresher of where we heard this before 😉)

  • It’s worth being reminded of that

  • We have no justice because we have forgotten that we belong to each other

  • AND YET…

  • God keeps sending us PROPHETS into our lives to say, “Ok are you going to turn now? Are you going to come back to me now?”

  • TIME IS SHORT

  • ETERNITY IS LONG (Imagine if you will….an enormous beach with brilliant white sand stretching as far as the eye can see...and every 1 BILLION years, an eagle flies and lands and picks up ONE GRAIN OF SAND and flies away….and the time it takes for the eagle to pick up EVERY SINGLE GRAIN OF SAND in that enormous beach….BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of years to clear EVERY SINGLE GRAIN OF SAND in that ENORMOUS BEACH...that is STILL NOT ETERNITY...🤯🤯)

  • So let’s turn back to the Lord, WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME

  • Fr. Mike is praying for YOU

  • Fr. Mike needs the prophets as well, to speak to his heart, change his heart, and the Lord’s Grace to purify his heart so that God doesn't look at HIM and say, “I despise your feast. I despise the way you are worshiping me.”

  • Fr. Mike wants to give God his WHOLE HEART

  • Do you want to give God YOUR WHOLE HEART?

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven thank you. Thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for revealing your heart to us. Please receive our praise. As we pray Psalm 122, we ask that you please receive this song of praise, that we are glad when they said to us, Let us go to the House of the Lord. And yes, of course we know that the Temple, the House of the Lord in Jerusalem no longer stands. And yet, Lord God, you have made all those who are baptized Temples of your Holy Spirit. You have given us these churches. You continue to abide and dwell in Tabernacles throughout the world. We ask you to please help us to always value your presence. Help us to always seek out your face and help us to always do your will in everything. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”