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14 Week Monday - Reflections


14th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 05-07-10
Hosea 2 : 16-18, 21-22 / Matthew 9 : 18-26

For the priests’ annual retreat, not everyone is excited to be there. But some priests do look forward to, because it is a break from the hectic pastoral ministry, and a time for prayer and rest and renewal.

Although there was no necessity to entice the priests to be at the retreat, there is always this temptation and distraction of the matters that were left behind in the parish/school/seminary.


The same cannot be said of God's people that we heard about in the 1st reading. God had to lure them and lead them out to the wilderness in order to speak to their hearts.

Certainly it was not going to be a pleasant journey for God's people to be driven into the wilderness and to be deprived of comforts.

But there is no doubt that in order to make someone listen, you may have to cut off all temptations and distractions from him in order to get your point across.

Similarly for the official and the woman with the haemorrhage in the gospel passage. It was in their loss and affliction that they know who to turn to in their need.

For the priests, they have seen death and illness happening to their people and at times they too are at a loss as to how to comfort their people and bring about hope and strengthen faith.
The retreat is a time where they recall who is the Saviour and to entrust these matters into His hands and to listen to His voice.

May we too let the Lord lead us in times of bereavement and illness so that we can listen to the voice of the Lord and find hope in life.

***

One of the most difficult sins for us to forgive is that of betrayal.

More so in a marriage, when this betrayal takes the form of unfaithfulness, and specifically adultery, then it is even more difficult to forgive.

The prophet Hosea of the 1st reading suffered this experience of betrayal.

But he used this experience to show what God is like to His unfaithful people.

God is compassionate and forgiving, even when His people broke the covenant and worshiped idols.

Hosea showed that God is forgiving and He forgives so completely that punishment can be changed to restoration and even to a celebration of the renewal of the marriage covenant as we heard in the 1st reading.

God even says to the unfaithful Israel - I will betroth you to myself forever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love.

God has always loved us and He loves us with an everlasting love.

Even when we have sinned, God does not turn away from us but instead turns towards us with all His love.

We cannot remain unmoved by what we heard in the 1st reading.
Not to be moved by it means that we do not understand God's love for us.

Or, for the matter of fact, we don't understand what love is at all.

(Fr. Stephen Yim)