Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 2:16.17c-18.21-22; Matthew 9:18-26)
Reminiscing about the Great Depression, a wealthy woman mentioned how it was better when there was little. It was not that her family had nothing, but whatever goods it possessed almost out of necessity had to be shared with the unemployed. The sharing evidently resulted in greater unity and virtue which the reading from the prophet Hosea today promises for Israel.
Hosea sees Israel as God’s unfaithful wife and compares the nation to his own spouse who is a prostitute. Although paganism does not exhaust the nation’s sins, it nearly occupies all of the prophet’s attention. He comments that the prosperity which the nation enjoys is turned into silver and gold idols. The only remedy for such mischief, as he says in today’s passage, is for God to strip the nation of its riches -- indeed of its very land -- in order to reform the people in exile.
Sometimes it is said that economic recessions have the silver lining of enabling people to see the value of spiritual resources over physical ones. This discovery certainly can and does happen. But it has been observed that for every person deprivation benefits, it blights many more. Economic strife and physical exile are not conditions to be prayed for. Rather, we are wise to ask God to open our eyes in gentler ways to His goodness and our hearts to share with those in need.