Day 177: Return, O Israel

Hosea 11:1-12 This analogy describes God’s relationship as a father to the people of Israel, his children. His love transcends all forms of human love, including that of a mother for her child and a groom for his bride. This perfect love explains why God’s mercy and forgiveness endure forever; although angered, God’s response is one of compassion and forgiveness. An excerpt from this passage is read at the Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year B. (CCC 208, 219, 370, 441)

Ch 12:1-14 Summarizing Israel’s history, God recalled how he continued to shepherd his people despite their sins. (CCC 1836)

Ch 13:1-16 In four brief prophecies, the Lord condemned Ephraim (Israel) for idolatry, threatened to punish his people for their lack of gratitude, announced the end of the monarchy, and heralded the destruction of Ephraim (Israel).

Ch 14:1-9 This final condemnation of Israel is followed by the reassurance of compassion and mercy as if to emphasize God’s unconditional love for his people. As a consequence of his love and mercy, he invites his people to respond with deeds of fidelity to his covenant. (CCC 220)

Psalm 109 This psalm is an impassioned plea for evildoers to fall into the snare of their own traps in accordance with justice and impose upon themselves their devised forms of persecutions. It is important to note that this psalm was written centuries before Christ, when the Law “an eye for an eye” was the standard for justice.

For your name’s sake: God’s ineffable name, “I AM WHO I AM,” indicates that he always has been present and always will be present to save and guide his people. To intervene in the psalmist’s present crisis is consistent with the assistance that his name implies. 

May another seize his goods: Another translation is “may another take his office,” a verse that Luke cites to justify the Apostles’ decision to elect another to take the place of Judas (cf. Acts 1:20). (CCC 207)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we do pray for your Grace. We pray for your help. We come before you in prayer and in fasting. We come before you in our need because just like David in this Psalm 109, God we have those who stand against us. We have those who curse us, those who have kept the blessing far from them. Unlike David who asks for those who have cursed him to experience curses themselves, we ask for the grace to be able to call out injustice when we see it, to name evil when we see it, but also a willingness to be like Christ, to be able to extend mercy, to be able to extend forgiveness. So Lord God, unlike David, we do not ask for curses to come upon our enemies. We ask for their conversion. We ask for you to love them into a new life. We ask for you to give them the blessings that will change their hearts so that they know who you are and that they will follow you with their entire lives. In Jesus’ name we pray for our enemies. We pray for those who love us. We pray for those who do not love us as they should. And we pray for each other. Amen.”