Commentary on the Gospel of
Come back to the Lord your God.
Prayer invites us to: adore the Lord; be contrite and seek forgiveness; be thankful and praise God; and of course, ask for the Lord’s blessings in our supplications. In today’s first reading, prophet Hosea strikes on one of the central chords of the Lenten season, namely prayer: this time, prayer of contrition. He calls on us to come back to the Lord, as well as ask for God’s mercy: “return O Israel to the Lord your God; no more idolatry.” For sure, idolatry manifests itself in multiple forms of attachments – to wealth and acquisitions, sex and pleasure, power and control.
To prophet Hosea’s clarion call, the Lord responds with reassuring words: “I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely.” We notice that the Lord´s expression is in the future tense, implying that our compliance to the invitation, our cooperation by actually returning to the Lord from our sinful ways, attracts His blessings of healing and love. Yes, indeed we worship the God who is full of mercy and forgiveness.
The Lord Jesus recaptures this divine image of love and mercy by setting before us a ‘three-dimensional love-relationship’ with God: “with all your heart, all your understanding; all your strength.” Brothers and sisters, we are products of relationship, for each one of us is:
Created in relationship;
Conceived in relationship;
Born in relationship;
Nurtured in relationship;
Formed in relationship;
Deformed in relationship;
And reformed in relationship.
Our life has salvific significance in relationship with God and ought to be lived with the same understanding – our life is meant to be lived orientated towards its original source, God. And for the fact that no man is an island, we share the blessing received from loving God with all our hearts, all our understanding and all our strength with our neighbor, whom the Lord re-invites us to love as ourselves.