Breaking up a new field and preparing it for planting is not an easy task. Bushes and brush must be cleared. The trunks of old trees and large boulders need to be dug up and hauled out of the field. Only then can a tiller be brought in to break up the soil and prepare it for planting.
Hosea uses this image when he calls the people of Israel to conversion. For too long they had turned away from Yahweh to the worship of false idols. The people of the covenant had rejected the God who had formed them into a people, led them out of slavery and gave them the promised land as their inheritance. Their turning away from God led them to throw off justice and to treat the poor, the widows and the foreigners within in their midst with disregard, cruelty and injustice. Hosea challenges God’s people to dig out the stumps of idolatry and boulders of injustice and to break up a new field.
Each time we gather for the Eucharist, we are called to conversion and transformation. It is not only our personal sins for which we seek forgiveness. We ask the assistance of the Lord to free us from our entanglements, either on a passive or active basis, with the roots of the old stumps of evil in our society. The sins of racism, violence, disregard for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, immigrants and refugees are so deeply embedded in our society. The word and sacrament feed us and impel us to go forth “to love and serve the Lord” especially to those with whom Jesus personally identified. “Whatever you did for the least. . . you did for me.”
What is the criteria upon which I judge illegal aliens, refugees, juvenile delinquents, unwed mothers with multiple children, prisoners, the unkempt homeless ….. those least “attractive” among the people of the periphery?
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, injustice, sadness, and despair, let me sow love. Purify my heart and then help me to witness to your loving and merciful presence by responding in love to all those who are suffering loneliness, rejection and the harsh judgements of those around them. AMEN
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)