Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 11:1-4; 8e-9)
“A man had two sons” is a familiar biblical theme. We find it in the story of Adam, Cain, and Abel; of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac; of Isaac, Esau and Jacob; and of the “Prodigal Son”. Typically one son pleases the father while the other broods and pouts. Typically again, the father’s love encompasses both sons.
We should also see the theme of a man with two sons running through the course of the whole Bible. God is portrayed as a man with two sons – Israel and Jesus. Jesus, of course, proves himself worthy of the Father’s praise while Israel has demonstrated fickleness in behavior. In the reading from the prophet Hosea today God expresses both tenderness and outrage for His son Israel. Although Israel has continuously betrayed God, He promises to treat this son with mercy not annihilation. God’s love for Israel is played out in sending His faithful son Jesus to his rescue.
God loves each of us as He loves Israel. Never mind that we have sinned, even egregiously. Never mind that we too often brood and pout rather than turn to God in repentance. God not only waits to forgive us but actively seeks us out through Jesus. His words recorded in the gospels call us to righteousness. His grace delivered through the sacraments empowers us to act according to our consciences. We need only to turn to Him for salvation.