14th Week, Monday, Jul 6

Hosea2:16-18, 21022 / Matthew 9:18-26
Hosea prophesies in Israel: I will speak to Israel’s heart

Hosea followed Amos as God’s prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. Like Amos, he was appalled at the evil in Israel and spoke out fearlessly against it. But Hosea’s prophecies were more compassionate in tone than were the prophecies of Amos. Perhaps that’s because of the personal tragedy that Hosea experienced in his life. Actually, little is known of Hosea’s life, other than he seems to have been married to an adultress. He loved her deeply in spite of her infidelity. Conditioned by this painful experience, Hosea tried to draw Israel back to the covenant by love rather than by threat. He compared God’s love for Israel to that of a loyal husband for his disloyal wife.
How forgiving are we toward our loved ones when they sin against us? “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” William A. Ward
One of the most difficult sins for us to forgive is that of betrayal. More so in a relationship, when this betrayal takes the form of unfaithfulness, 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. Not to be moved by it may mean that we don't understand what love is at all. Let us turn to Jesus, and ask for forgiveness for the times we have been unfaithful to Him, so that we may be healed and be faithful in our love for Him.

Monday July 6 
Monday of 14th Week of Ordinary Time 

The prophet Hosea is the prophet of the tender, gratuitous love of God, who continues loving his people even when we are unfaithful, because he is God, and not like people (Hos 11, 9). Hosea can describe this love well, for he had experienced it in his own life when his wife deserted him. He went to take her back and went on a new honeymoon with her. This is the kind of love God has for us. God has made us for life. In Jesus he shows us that he wants us to be healed, that is, wholly and fully alive and raised from the dead, for by his resurrection Jesus defeats death in its roots. In this Eucharist we ask Jesus to raise us up, from the death of sin and ultimately from physical death. 

Opening Prayer 
God of all that breathes and lives, your Son Jesus touched people and they were healed and they lived. Let him take us by the hand and raise us up from sin and discouragement. Let him touch us with his body and blood and make us fresh and new again to live his life and to go his way to you. Let him touch us with the warmth of his love that our love may revive others, especially the poor and those who suffer. All this we ask through Christ our Lord.

There is probably no passage from the Old Testament that has a clearer New Testament ring than today’s reading from Hosea. God’s intention is to engage his people in a conversation so full of love and endearment that betrayal will never again be thought of. When the Hebrews first emerged from Egyptian bondage, they were one with the God who had championed their cause. Their installation in the land of promise, however, had brought its own set of woes. Idolatry, cultic prostitution, and the worship of Baal was the slippery slope down which they had slid. They were in short an immense disappointment. But God would allure them again to a figurative desert and reconstitute them in those strong biblical qualities of right, justice, love, and mercy. Humans look at appearances; God looks at the heart. Isn’t this the lesson of today’s Gospel? Regardless of the background or status of the supplicant, Jesus has a willing ear and a sympathetic heart. But the discourse does not end there. We are those who today walk in his shoes. How can we turn our back on the needy, the grieving parent of a lost child, or the elderly woman suffering years of pain? To walk the walk is more costly than to talk the talk. 

Points to Ponder 
The desert experience in our spiritual life
Conversion always a possibility
Sensitivity to pain 

– That the Church may continue with compassion Jesus’ healing ministry, that the sick may be comforted, the downtrodden set free, and the poor and the weak protected, we pray:
– That doctors and nurses and all who care for the sick and the handicapped may have a great respect for life and be inspired in their task by the love of Christ, we pray:
– That the faith and the hope of the sick and the dying may be firmly anchored in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; that with him they may accept their pains with patience and when the time comes also accept death as the gateway to full life, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
God our Father, this is your dwelling place to which you have invited us. We offer you here all our love and trust through him who had placed himself into your hands and kept trusting in you even in death, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion
 God our Father, our life and death are in your hands. We are certain of you because we know your love is irrevocable and you have given us your Son in this Eucharist. May we learn from you and him to be present to one another and to be reliable messengers to each other of your care and your gratuitous love. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. 

God wants us to live to the full. That is why he lets his Son Jesus Christ heal and strengthen us with the food and drink of everlasting life. May almighty God bless and keep you: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.