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14th Week Thursday: Reflections

14th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 12-07-18
Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9 / Matthew 10:7-15

Any parent whose son or daughter is overseas studying or working, would look forward or even long to hear from their children.

With the change in ways of communication, even parents would learn how to use email or skype or Facebook or whatever just to keep in contact with their children.

But just as the parents would find ways and means to keep in contact, the children would be ones who are not that keen or interested, even though they are more versatile with the modern day communication means.

The sentiments that parents have for their children are expressed tenderly in the 1st reading.

What is more profound is that it was God who was speaking through the prophet Hosea.

And the 1st reading contains the intimate revelations of God in the Old Testament.

God is portrayed as a loving father. It was He who took Israel into His arms and lifted Israel into His embrace, and taught Israel to walk. But the more God loved Israel, the more Israel turned away and rejected God. This ungratefulness and unfaithfulness would certainly provoke divine wrath, besides of course, human censure.

This is where God reveals Himself as merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in mercy. To put it tersely, God is the Holy One who does not wish to destroy.

That is what Jesus sent for His disciples to proclaim. That is also what we have to bear witness to.

There is something amazing about the relationship between parents and their children. Parents love their children and will always continue to do so even if the love isn't reciprocated by their children or even if their children take their parents' love for granted.

Parents love their children almost unconditionally and even if disputes cut into the relationship, parents will still be parents and they will be there for their children at the last count.

But this sort of relationship need not exist between God and His people. God does not have to tolerate His people's unfaithfulness and He could have done away with them at the first instance of disobedience.

The 1st reading talks about the unfaithfulness and disobedience of Israel and their grave sin of worshipping idols.

Whereas parents would have given up on their children if they had angered their parents beyond the limit, God, on the other hand had relentless called Israel back to Himself even though they kept turning away.

It makes us wonder why God would be bothered to go to this extent to bring His people back. We may also wonder why Jesus would bother sending out His disciples to go forth and proclaim the Kingdom of heaven.

He and His disciples would face rejection despite all the good work they do like curing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers and casting out devils.

We would have given up on others if they ever take us for granted and are ungrateful for all the good that we do to them.

But God, in His love for us, does not give up on us even though we have been unfaithful and disobedient.

That is our hope in God who is merciful and forgiving. Let us in turn share that hope with those who want to turn back to God to find forgiveness and healing. God will never fail us.