(Hosea 14: 2-10; Mark 12: 28-34)
‘Israel, come back to the Lord your God’; ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.
Can we hear the intense longing in God’s invitation – come back to me, I will heal your disloyalty. I will make Israel, (you) bloom like a lily. Through Hosea we hear again and again that it is God who hears our prayer, cares for us and in whom we are fruitful. In God nothing is impossible; all we need to do is to respond. The kind of response needed is made very clear in the dialogue between Jesus and one of the scribes. ‘Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself. Unfortunately ‘love’ has gone through the mill so much so that the depth of it, the beauty of it, the power of it, is often lost.
However, the Gospel is filled with examples of what it really means -going beyond ourselves, to rise above our own needs, to stretch out to someone, to risk discomfort, to give our time and energy and ultimately to give ourselves to another. Yet, we cannot give what we do not have. Unless we treat ourselves with respect, with love and honour, giving ourselves the care we need to live holistically we cannot love in the way Jesus asks of us. The self-emptying comes as we gaze on the One who knows the meaning of ‘Kenosis’ – that outpouring that comes from being one with the God of all creation – the very God who longingly calls us to return home – the place and the space where true joy, life and peace is found in abundance. We need only one word: ‘Yes’, I come”
Imagine God before you, feel the longing as He invites you to return – maybe after some failure, or having turned from Him – you will find and experience His loving mercy.
+Bishop Adam Musialek SCJ
Diocese of De Aar