Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 10:1-3.7-8.12; Matthew 10:1-7)
The Good Earth is an epic story about a Chinese peasant who accumulates a fortune. Through hard work, shrewdness, and especially the cooperation of his wife, the peasant becomes a rich landowner in the time after the downfall of the Qing dynasty. Tragically, the peasant takes into his home a local beauty leaving his wife forlorn. The man’s sons, educated but querulous, eventually plot to take apart the estate their father and mother so diligently put together. The tale reflects the trajectory of Israel as told by Hosea and other prophets of the Northern Kingdom
In today’s first reading Hosea highlights the glory of the Northern Kingdom. He calls it a “luxuriant vine” with “abundant…fruit.” Hosea objective in extolling Israel, however, is to contrast God’s gracious blessing on the nation with the people’s meager response. Rather than embrace more faithfully the God who has given them the land, they worship him as only one god among others. The prophet makes no compromises about their destiny. He predicts the destruction of the kingdom.
The nations of western civilization should take warning. They too have been blessed by the God whom their ancestors worshipped faithfully. Now they seem to follow other gods – not graven images but desires for pleasure, power, and wealth. Some nations like Greek and Spain may be on the verge of collapse. Others like the United States face great challenges such as the lack of workers to support an aging population. We pray for the grace of conversion.