“Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Midway through this Lenten season, can you hear God calling you? In praying with today’s first reading, and bringing to it the specific challenges of our lives today, the message in Hosea might sound something like this:
Come back to me. When you are hurting– damaged in a relationship, leveled by a diagnosis, anxious in your work, worried about your children, diminished in your body– I will heal you.
When you are broken– in the throes of addiction, grieving the loss of a person you love, deeply in debt, confused about sex, struggling with a decision, bent double by failure– I will bind your wounds.
When hard times and the persons and systems you counted on– have left you for dead, I will raise you up. I want you to live in my presence. Sure as the dawn, I am coming to meet you.
My love for you shines as bright as the sun.
My care for you pours down the way the spring rain waters the earth.
You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to be “good enough.” I don’t require your sacrifices, your accomplishments, your success. Your love is all I desire.
More than anything, I want you to know me.
—Mary Anne Reese is an attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Xavier University’s theology program and belongs to St. Robert Bellarmine Parish. She is also a published poet.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.
—From the Prayer of Saint Richard of ChichesterPlease share the Good Word with your friends!