Scripture Reading for Today: Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9 (read it here)
Today’s Reading from the Book of Hosea gives us a glimpse into the very heart, mind, and attitude of God toward us.
The entire story of Israel, which is the central theme of the Old Testament, is a love story; but it is not a happy one. God had loved Israel, loves Israel, and will continue to love her into the years of the future leading his people “with cords of compassion, with the bands of love.”
But this undying love is never truly returned by the chosen people; so that the history of divine love becomes a history of tragedy.
Only one who has loved deeply can know the grief of love rejected. And thus, we see that the Old Testament’s love story, while bearing hope for human beings, is also a story of suffering.
Therefore, when we say, “God is love,” we are also affirming the necessary counterpart—“God is suffering,” because love and suffering are intimately interrelated. God suffers because he loves, and those whom he loves, often do not return his love.
And eventually, in the New Testament, we perceive the suffering of God reach a new climax in the death of Jesus Christ, where both the suffering and love of God mark the life and death of Jesus.
God’s love leads inevitably to internal conflict. “How can I give you up?” God asks himself. Yet both justice and common sense would require that God abandon Israel.
Actually, the law of covenant clearly implies that God was legally bound to abandon Israel. But in the conflict raging within the heart of God, love conquers justice and disappointment. In other words, God cannot abandon his people, and cannot stop loving them.
God will permit the deserved condemnation for their own actions to fall on his people. At the same time, the nation’s defeat in war and its citizens driven from their homes to foreign countries are also a severe revelation of divine mercy and concern for their salvation.
Thus, we perceive the New Testament saying “God is love” to describe the very essence of God. And, if God were to cease loving, he would cease to be God, because love is his very nature.
And so, the love that torments and makes God’s heart suffer, eventually finds a solution—“I will not execute my fierce anger.”
Hosea’s insight into the heart of God extends beyond his own time and place to describe God’s heart made flesh in Jesus.
Above all, we see Jesus’ loving heart in giving us his word and his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
Let us ask God for the grace to be moved by Jesus’ love in giving his life to reopen the way to salvation and in guiding, sustaining, correcting, inspiring, forgiving, leading, and helping us.
Moved by Mary, let us also extend mercy to those around us.
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Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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