Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Seek the Lord

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he comes and rains down justice upon you.”  Hosea 10:12

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  Matthew 10:5-7

Father, help us to seek out the Lord before the Good Shepherd seeks us.  Jesus, when you find me, let me see your face of mercy and reconciling love.  Holy Spirit, give me the gifts to shed the weeds that clutter my life so that when the Lord shows me His holy face, I will see and recognize him. Amen.

If there is a more beautifully poetic version of the Cursillo Tripod than Hosea 10:12 in all of the sacred scripture, I have not yet found it. 

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he comes and rains down justice upon you.”  Hosea 10:12

This week is the ONLY time in the two-year weekday liturgical cycle of daily readings when you can taste and see the poetry of this book. (There are two annual selections on Friday and Saturday in the Third Week of Lent when we get a reading from this first of the minor prophets.)

If you are like me, you will cherish the week because this has become one of my favorite books in the Hebrew Bible. (Of course, we can break open the Book of Hosea anytime we choose.  We do not need to wait only for the Magisterium to offer up a few selections.)

The poetic writing of Hosea about God’s unending love comes at a very incongruous time.  These were the dark days of the decline and fall of Israel – about 800 years before Christ came on the scene.  Yet Hosea rises above the news of the day to describe the relationship of Israel to the Lord as if it was a marriage.  This analogy was picked up by later prophets and in the New Testament where Paul compares Christ and the church as a bride and bridegroom.  However, Hosea notes that Israel strays from a faithful relationship. Yet, in the end, the relationship is restored through the mercy and reconciling love of God.   

Who is wise enough to understand these things?
Who is intelligent enough to know them?
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
the just walk in them,
but sinners stumble in them. Hos 14:10

The “Seek-the-Lord” command in Hosea 10:12 echoes in the Psalm selected today (Seek the Lord) and that is exactly what the 72 disciples are doing as they venture out to visit the Lost Sheep.  They are seeking to embody the Spirit of the Lord inside each pair of disciples.  In essence, the Good Shepherd knows that it is he -- himself -- who does the seeking as the lost sheep may not even realize they are lost.

As we seek out the lost sheep and bring Christ (back) into their lives, we build the Kingdom brick by mortal soul brick.  We go out with our holy roto-tiller breaking up a new field so that the shoots of the tree of life can unfold into the world.  Hosea reminds us that we reap what we sow. If we are a luxuriant vine, then we bear great fruit.  If not, we will be overgrown with thorns.

We are not always the shepherd. We also are the lost sheep trying to graze in a field of weeds and thorns.  When we are not about the Lord’s work, vines and thistles overtake us.  What are the vines and thistles in your life?  What weeds do you need to get under control?  

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