Wellspring of Scripture


Year B: 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Hosea 2: 16-17,21-22


Hosea was a man with serious marital problems - his wife was regularly unfaithful - and yet, he continued to love her deeply.


As he reflected on his own experiences, Hosea saw in them something of God’s relationship with the people of Israel. God was the husband who loved his bride Israel with devotion and total faithfulness - only to be rewarded by Israel’s continued infidelity.


The love is beautifully described in today’s First Reading which speaks of what the bridegroom yearns to offer to his bride: integrity and justice, tenderness and love.


He longs to betroth himself to her - and promises to take her into the wilderness where he will speak to her heart.


For Hosea, this might have been a desire to remove his wife from the temptations of the city.

For God, it is to take Israel into the wilderness where He has so often spoken to her - guided her and fed her. When the nation of Israel went through the “desert” experience as she emerged from the slavery in Egypt, it was then that she was most open to her God.


The image of the bride and bridegroom as an example of what the relationship between God and His people should be like continues throughout Scripture. In Revelation, the Bride of Christ is revealed as the Church - a title the Church uses often about herself. The fulfilment of history is seen as being revealed in the total union of Christ and His Church.


What does it mean for me?

How does Hosea's fidelity to his wife speak to you of God's faithful love for you?

How can you give God "desert-time" in which to speak to your heart? With Lent on the horizon, this might be an opportune moment to plan for this.

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