Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.”
The Scriptures and Tradition of the Church use many images to describe God. The reason for this wealth of images, of course, is the fact that God is infinite: no one image does justice to the depth and richness of God who is love. Likewise, there are many images used to describe the peoples whom, throughout salvation history, God has desired to draw to Himself. The tribes of Israel and the Mystical Body of Christ are described by varied metaphors.
However, we also have to confess that it takes many images to describe God’s People for a another, very different reason. There are so many ways in which God’s People sin, and fail to live up to the relationship to which He constantly calls us. It takes many different images and metaphors to describe the infidelity of the People of God. So it is in Hosea, as the prophet describes Israel with the image of a spouse, as well as the image of a child, capturing the ingratitude of one who fails to give thanks for the sacrifices that the father has made.
One of the metaphors that Hosea uses speaks to us especially as followers of Jesus. Offering the Lord’s prophecy to Israel, Hosea says, “Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.” The “child”—in the singular—is the nation gathered together and nourished through the Law and the Prophets, yet the Lord recognizes that “they”—all of them—were unfaithful to Him.
Even more so did our Heavenly Father offer His own divine Son for the sake of His people, only to be met with rejection. The sacrifice of Christ Jesus is both healing and nourishment for the People of God. This is an important reason to prepare for Holy Mass with great devotion: spending time in private prayer and devotion, considering how many joys and sorrows we have to offer to God, that we might be both strengthened and healed.