Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hosea 10,1-3.7-8.12

Israel was a luxuriant vine yielding plenty of fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred pillars. Theirs is a divided heart; now they will have to pay for it. He himself will hack down their altars and wreck their sacred pillars. Then they will say, 'We have no king because we have not feared Yahweh, but what could the king do for us?' Samaria has had her day. Her king is like a straw drifting on the water. The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, 'Cover us!' and to the hills, 'Fall on us!' Sow saving justice for yourselves, reap a harvest of faithful love; break up your fallow ground: it is time to seek out Yahweh until he comes to rain saving justice down on you.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hosea is the first of the prophets of the Old Testament to compare Israel to a vine: "Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit." With this image, the prophet describes the prosperity of the people of Israel that is cultivated by the Lord as a favourite vine. This is why it is even more bitter to see the contrast between the abundance of vine when it let the Lord care for it (probably the sacred author thinks of the happy years of peace during the kingdom of Jeroboam II) and the ruin in which it fell after giving in to the cult of Baal (Hos 2:1-17). Israel revealed the ambiguity of its heart: they had abandoned God's covenant in order to follow false idols. The prophet says that once Israel has no altars, no idols and no king, they will learn to see how they are in front of god, that is naked and with no help. But it will be late and so they will ask the mountains, "Cover us" and to the hills, "Fall on us." Israel must start sowing again "righteousness" and reap "steadfast love;" this is the way of those who set seeking the Lord and start again listening faithfully to his Word. It is a way that has value also for us today in a world that does not know equity and mercy, in which too many look for only their own safety and satiety giving in to the violence of injustice or indifference. The justice of God goes far beyond mere calculation and the greedy measure of human calculations, it is carried out with goodness and mercy. Each believer is given the task to cultivate the field of life every day and sow it with love and mercy. From this comes the invitation of the prophet to "plough a new filed." The heart - o the individual sand of the community - becomes a field to be ploughed so that the seed planted in it may bear fruit.