Friday of the Third Week in Lent
(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)
Hosea is considered a “minor prophet” because his writings are not as extensive as Isaiah’s, Jeremiah’s, or Ezekiel’s. Yet he writes with extraordinary simplicity and beauty. His audience is the northern kingdom of Israel, sometimes called Ephraim or Samaria. Blessed with abundance, Israel dabbles in idolatry which Hosea symbolizes by taking a harlot for a wife.
In today’s passage Hosea pleads with Israel to repent. The nation is not to trust any more in foreign alliances, much less in golden idols. Rather it should walk the path of God’s righteousness and count on Him. Jesus gives a parallel formulation for arriving in the kingdom of God in today’s gospel.
We may practice similar infidelity. If we idolize actors or athletes, giving them our attention and not the word of God, Hosea’s warnings are for us. Similarly, if we confide in gossipers or slanders, we are guilty of untoward alliances which call for repentance.