BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu



“Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good.” Amos 5:14-15.

Our first reading this morning is in every sense a threat of some sorts. It explains the popular, yet very controversial quote you have heard from so many; “the prayer of a sinner is an abomination in the sight of God.” Does God abhor the prayer of a sinner? How then do we explain the prayer of the tax collector in the parable of Jesus who without looking up to heaven prayed: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”? Luke 18:13.

To say the prayer of the sinner is an abomination to God is to say only half of the whole truth. God loves sinners but hates sin. And it is based on this context that we must understand today’s first reading. Amos speaking in the place of God says:

“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well- being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:21-24. Do you know how it feels when you already know the truth about something and someone is standing before your face and telling a lie about that same thing? Would you ever take anything from that person seriously again? This is the point! It is one thing to sin graciously and still come before God like there is no big deal but it is a different thing altogether to be completely intolerant of sin.

Yes, God does not listen to the prayers of the sinner but who is the sinner? One who commits sin or one who loves sin? One who recognizes his personal limitations or who tries to deceive God? Isn’t it a shocker that the same God who does not listen to the prayer of the sinner answered the prayer of the two demoniacs (in today’s Gospel passage) who pleaded to be sent to the herd of pigs?

Why would Jesus grant the request of the demoniacs? They acknowledged their powerlessness before him, they actually begged Jesus to be merciful to them and spare them from being tormented. If Jesus granted the pleas of demoniacs, why then should I fail to come before God in the name of “being a sinner.” Why then should I stay away from the church, from God or from prayers simply because my sins are too many?

The fact here my dear friends is that: *As much as God hates sin, He is more concerned about our attitude towards sin than the very existence of sin in our lives.* God is not some policeman who counts our sins one after the other waiting to charge us to court later on. God is a Father who loves us beyond all Understanding and expects us to love Him back by avoiding all those things He HATES.

If you are my friend, I expect you to hate what I hate. As Jesus says: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14. If I discover you love those things I hate, its either I start loving them or our friendship begins to suffer. It is either you change or our friendship crashes. And guess what? We cannot deceive God because He sees our heart. We cannot claim to love God and love sin at the same time. If truly we love God, we must have a zero tolerance for sin. We must have a zero tolerance for sin and all forms of evil so much so that like Jesus, our very presence becomes a threat to demons. We must hate sin so much that evil people become completely uncomfortable in our midst.

Painful too, many of us Christians have become demoniacs of some sorts. Consciously and unconsciously, we have entangled ourselves with demonic spirits (in the name of modernity) so much so that we no longer see sin for what it is anymore.

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, you cured the demoniacs, cure me of my sinfulness. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Amos 5:21-24, Psalm 50:7-13. Matthew 8:28-34).

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