Psalm 85:9ab and 10,11-12,13-14
The Book of Amos, a book full of divine judgment upon Israel and condemnation of injustice and false religion, ends with a prophetic message of hope. One day, after the exile of Israel, God will raise up the fall hut of David. David’s kingdom, we know, was divided after Solomon and both kingdoms were sent into exile before they would be restored through David’s descendant, Jesus Christ. “In spite of all the destruction to follow, Amos knew that the Lord would preserve a ‘remnant of Joseph’ who would persevere in practicing justice (5:14-15). This remnant on the side of the oppressed provides the seeds of hope for Israel’s future” (M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 249).
The restoration of David’s house would take place in two stages and the way that the Acts of the Apostles quotes Amos on two occasions corresponds to this two-stage sequence. The first text from Amos is found in Stephen’s speech, which applies Amos’ critique of arid ritualism to the idolatry of the ancients in the wilderness (Acts 7:42-43; Amos 5:25-27). Stephen, like Amos, exposes the falsity of ritualized Temple worship. “The high priest and elders in [Stephen’s] audience interpreted his words and reacted in a manner consistent with Amaziah’s expulsion of Amos […]. Just as Amos’ words declared an end to the empty cult in Bethel so that God could restore a humble remnant by obedience to his word, so Stephen’s speech announced the bankruptcy of empty Temple ritual to be replaced by personal submission to the Lordship of Jesus revealed in the power of his Resurrection (Acts 7:51-60)” (M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 250).
The second text from Amos is quoted during the Council of Jerusalem in 49 AD. “In his speech advocating the admission of the Gentiles into the fold of God’s people on equal terms with the Jews, James, the kinsman of the Lord and elder of the Jerusalem community, quotes the vision of restoration that concludes the book of Amos (Acts 15:16-17; cf. Amos 9:11-12)” (M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 250). God restores the fallen hut and house of David far beyond the physical limits of Israel and Judah and includes all the nations (Amos 9:12).
The theme of the restoration of God’s people is also present in the Gospel: Jesus is the divine Bridegroom who comes to his people as to his bride and, after his Resurrection, goes away to prepare a place for her in heaven. Jesus does not come simply to restore the old order (the old wineskins), but comes to make all things new. He brings the old covenant to fulfillment by establishing a new, everlasting covenant in his blood. He is the Messiah who brings New Wine to his people (Amos 9:13-14).
In the Eucharist, we share in the wedding feast of Jesus, the Lamb of God. We partake of the New Wine, which is Jesus’ Blood. The Mass is where we receive “hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17). Jesus the Bridegroom has given his bride the gift of the hidden manna and the new wine, for he himself is the hidden manna and the new wine.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].