One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is that of the prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer. For this prophet drew upon his marital experience and In particular his tender love for his “wayward,” unfaithful spouse as the source of his message: “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.” “I will espouse you to me forever; in love and mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord.”
This theme continues with the psalm (145) chosen for today’s liturgy, one of praise and thanksgiving for a “gracious and merciful” God, “slow to anger and of great kindness” and compassion.
Anyone who has been married for a significant number of years (ours 46) knows the ups and downs of a real marriage. Moments of great patience and mutual generosity, tender love; and, those petty arguments, little irritations, the insensitive curt comments, and even big disagreements over substantive matters on raising children, managing a household, etc. This is the stuff of most loving relationships.
And yet, how do we know in a tangible way the love of the Lord? How do we experience the mercy and compassion of this faithful God? It is in my humble belief only through the love of another: a parent, a friend, a mentor, a spouse, a child (especially in our later years).
And so we leave the celebration of the Eucharist or our time in prayer (whether before the Blessed Sacrament or in our inner room) to love and serve the Lord and to be his hands, eyes, voice and heart. Today’s reading calls us to tender compassion and love for those we come in contact—both our loved ones and those we find difficult to love.
Who needs to touch the tassel of my cloak today? Who might benefit from a compassionate look, touch, or spoken word?
The Lord is gracious and merciful. Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great are you O Lord and highly to be praised; (your) greatness is unsearchable. For you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)