14th Thursday in Ordinary Time
Hosea 11: 1 – 4, 8e -9; Ps 80; Matthew 10: 7 – 15
There are any number of passages in the Scriptures that speak of God’s love but it would be hard to find one that equals the passage from the Prophet Hosea that we just heard. Revealing a divine maternal/paternal love that is exquisitely tender and profoundly compassionate, this truth has to touch us deeply, more than we can express.
It is worth hearing again: “I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks.” However, wherever, whenever one encounters God as we are doing at this very moment in this Holy Eucharist it is our Lord whose compassion, whose tender love is the same yesterday, today and forever.
In the Gospel we hear of the mission of the disciples, their first and Jesus sends them forth with wise and practical instructions. I think all the provisions can be summed up in this: going forth in the name of the Lord, be focused, centered on doing God’s work; do not allow yourselves be distracted from this in anyway – whether people accept you or not – keep centered, don’t lose your way, don’t get caught up in trivialities. Make the kingdom real, present, effective in people’s lives – all else is secondary or even unimportant.
I believe behind all this, listening beyond the words of the Gospel is the mystery of God’s love that Hosea was privileged to proclaim – God’s love, divinely compassionate, infinitely tender, totally faithful is always centered, focused on us. St. Paul knew this when he wrote – “there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God” – nothing above, nothing below, no horrendous event, no trivial thing…nothing. God is love – it is God’s nature, being, mystery.
This truth, surely, is the source of our hope and the foundation of how we live – always receiving as we are now, at this moment. Receiving the Lord Himself, receiving infinite, tender, compassionate love and from this the Lord gives us a mission: “The gift you have received, give as a gift!”