Prayer for the sick

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The prayer for the sick is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hosea 2,16.17-18.21-22

But look, I am going to seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. There I shall give her back her vineyards, and make the Vale of Achor a gateway of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as on the day when she came up from Egypt. When that day comes- declares Yahweh- you will call me, 'My husband', no more will you call me, 'My Baal'. I shall betroth you to myself for ever, I shall betroth you in uprightness and justice, and faithful love and tenderness. Yes, I shall betroth you to myself in loyalty and in the knowledge of Yahweh.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

We know the story of Hosea's family, which is narrated in the first three chapters of his book, from which the passage we read is taken. Hosea is married to Gomer, a woman who continues to practice prostitution. Yet God forces the prophet to keep her as his wife. It is a message difficult to understand for us. But the crudity of the situation is a teaching that makes us reflect too. The prostitute-wife is represented Israel, which continues to betray its covenant with the Lord. The Lord asks Hosea to keep her as his wife to demonstrate the steadiness of his love for Israel despite its recurring betrayal. In this passage we can see the strength of God's love, who, even though he has been betrayed by his people, continues to court them until he brings them back to the faithfulness of the covenant. God had given Israel everything: the earth with its goods ("my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink"), but Israel continued to follow idols, who had become like lovers to whom it linked its heart. The Lord however does not give up before the forgetfulness of his people or even their betrayal. He tries everything to win back his people's hearts: he accuses, speaks, tries to dissuade from going to the idols, and takes away the things he had given them as gifts. But everything seems useless until he brings them to the desert. And here, in the place of deprivation and death, God speaks to the heart of his people and helps them rediscover the strength and the sweetness of the love with which they are loved: "I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord."