Day 176: Choosing Eternal Life

Hosea 8:1-14 Israel’s prayers were ineffective due to their failure to embrace God’s laws. Effective prayer presupposes docility to God’s will. The appointment of kings without recourse to God, the fabrication of an idol in the form of a golden calf, and alliances with foreign nations are all egregious manifestations of infidelity to the sacred covenant.

Ch 9:1-17 The prophecy predicts, as a punishment for infidelity, the imminent exile of the people of the Northern Kingdom of Assyria, which took place in the eighth century BC. This passage about “the prophet” likely refers to Hosea himself, who is a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!) insofar as he was sent by God but was rejected and abused.

Ch 9:9-17 Gibeah: This is the site of the vengeful near-genocide of the Tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes of Israel following the rape and murder of a concubine (cf. Jgs 19-20).

Baal-peor: This is the name of the Canaanite god and the site of its pagan temple. Israel was, for a time, taken in by this false religion (cf. Nm 25:1-5), which involved cult prostitution.

Gilgal: This is the place where Saul was confirmed as king and coincidentally later lost his throne. The latter instance was punishment for his disobedience of God’s instructions to refrain from taking spoils of battle from the defeated Amalekites (cf. 1 Sm 15:21-33).

Ch 10:1-15 Prosperity, for Israel, had been accompanied by their increasing sinfulness. The “altars” refer to pagan altars of sacrifice, and the “pillars” are the sacred poles that were associated with the Canaanites’ worship of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. The Israelites were called upon to repent from their grievous sins of idolatry.

Psalm 108 Two separate prayer fragments were melded together to form this psalm, and the result is one that praises and extols the love and faithfulness of God. The language of this morning hymn can be seen as Christological: God will be exalted (lifted up, as in his Crucifixion) so his beloved may be delivered (saved, as in redeemed). In the second part of this psalm, the Lord’s sovereignty over the whole world, even over the enemies of Israel, is proclaimed. Though God respects the freedom of every individual, in his infinite wisdom and power, the events of history occur according to his will. In the end, the victory of good over evil is assured. (Cf. St John Paul II, General Audience, May 28, 2003)

I will awake the dawn: It is a highly commendable practice to establish a daily routine for prayer, giving special prominence to prayerful meditation in the morning, which is in itself a cosmic symbol of Christ’s Resurrection. Morning Prayer, or Lauds, is one of the chief hours in the Liturgy of the Hours; “there should be prayer in the morning so that the resurrection of the Lord may thus be celebrated” (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 38). (CCC 2720-2724)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, thank you so much. Thank you for the gift of yourself and the gift of your Son. Thank you for fighting for us. Vain is the help of the people around us. While we need each other and while we need to lift each other up and fight for one another, with you we shall do bravely. With you we shall do valiantly. And it is you who accomplish all we have done. And it is you who will tread down our foes. Help us to be faithful to you and to be faithful in waiting on you and to be faithful to allow you to show up and to fight for us as you want to fight for us, not as we want to be fought for. Because, Lord, your will surpasses our best laid plans. Your wisdom surpasses our depth of understanding as the ocean surpasses a puddle, Lord God. So we just praise you and we trust you today in Jesus’ name. Amen.”