Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Hosea 14, 2-10

Israel, come back to Yahweh your God your guilt was the cause of your downfall.

Provide yourself with words and come back to Yahweh. Say to him, 'Take all guilt away and give us what is good, instead of bulls we will dedicate to you our lips.

Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, "Our God!" to our own handiwork, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.'

I shall cure them of their disloyalty, I shall love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned away from them.

I shall fall like dew on Israel, he will bloom like the lily and thrust out roots like the cedar of Lebanon;

he will put out new shoots, he will have the beauty of the olive tree and the fragrance of Lebanon.

They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow wheat again, they will make the vine flourish, their wine will be as famous as Lebanon's.

What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when I hear him and watch over him? I am like an evergreen cypress, you owe your fruitfulness to me.

Let the wise understand these words, let the intelligent grasp their meaning, for Yahweh's ways are straight and the upright will walk in them, but sinners will stumble.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In this time of Lent, the liturgy continues to urge us to return to the Lord. Yes, it is the time of return. This page of the prophet Hosea also emphasizes this and calls on Israel: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity" (v. 1). It is a very opportune time to return to ourselves and understand again that God's mercy is great and His Word crucial for our lives. Listening to the Holy Scriptures we understand our sin again and we also learn how to turn to the Lord. The prophet exhorts the people: "Take words with you and return to the Lord" (v. 2). We could say that it shows us how to get back: make space in our mind and heart for the Word that God speaks to us. Sin, in fact, begins its journey when we give up listening to the Word of God to hear other words, other directions. Hosea makes it clear to the Israelites when he puts on their lips the words to say to God: "Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God’, to the work of our hands" (v. 3). The return to God, which the prophet and our time ask of us, means coming back to stay close to the Lord and to listen. And he repeats to us: "I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them" (v. 4). The Lord seems to be content merely with our affectionate closeness. We could say that it takes little for God to be moved because of us and fill us with his friendship: "I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon" (v. 5-6). They are images that describe just how great and strong is the love of God for his people. And it is such an abundance of love that makes us understand his jealousy for a people on whom he pours all his love.