EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
The Lord Jesus Brings His People through Death into Life by the Preaching of Repentance
Amos did not choose to be a prophet, but the Lord took him “from following the flock” and said to him, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel” (Amos 7:15). It was a hard word given him to preach: King Jeroboam would “die by the sword,” and Israel would “go into exile away from his land” (Amos 7:10–11). For this word, Amos was hated and threatened. St. John the Baptist also suffered for his faithful preaching of repentance. King Herod “sent and seized John and bound him in prison,” even though he knew that John “was a righteous and holy man” (Mark 6:17, 20). Out of pride and fear, Herod “sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head” (Mark 6:27). Yet in Christ, St. John the Baptist “has been raised from the dead” (Mark 6:14, 16). For Christ is the destruction of death itself “before the foundation of the world,” and even now by faith, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has blessed us in Christ “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3–4). Through Baptism into Christ, you also “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” for life and salvation (Eph. 1:13).