Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: July 6, Lectionary 384. Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13. Psalm
115:3-4,5-6,7-8,9-10. Matthew 9:32-38:
In our first two readings opposition, rejection, and scepticism lead
leaders, kings, and some people to be deaf to the message of God to them
from the prophets and from Jesus. They are also mute about saying anything
good about the world beyond which they can touch. God is not part of
their identity. As someone has said they are ego-centric (E-G-O = "edging
God out) people, kings, leaders, and nations. Such is the prophetic voice
of Hosea in the first reading.
How is it possible for us to meditate quietly and to pray with such
difficult passages in the Scriptures? We need to read them a second and
even third time to frame them and see why the message is so negative. We
need to read what went before the given reading and what comes after in the
inspired texts that we hear or read. This means doing a little preparation
before the liturgy to see what the "context" is in some of the readings we
We discover that there is a healing message in them as Jesus, in the
Gospel, continues to heal, preach, and teach despite the opposers and those
deaf to his message. We learn of his great compassion for people and for
those open to his words. He laments the fact there are not enough
following him to help harvest the ripe fields of people eager to hear his
words. His seventy-two disciples and his twelve named apostles are just
not able to keep up with the harvesting of persons so necessary to build
the kingdom of God. We are called to be those who listen to Jesus and bring
his message of Good News to those around us; we do this more by our example
than by our words.
Hosea shows us that he had the same resistance as Jesus has. Kings from
the north and the south resist his message which is God's word through him
as an authentic prophet. Samaria and Ephraim want nothing to do with
Hosea. The sins of the past and those of the present in his timeline are
all too evident in what he conveys to us in his writings. Salvation
history however is the work of God and it continues silently, subtlely, and
perseveringly despite the crooked lines that the opposition provides for
the written word. Some of these tough lines flow from the cursive pen of
the prophet Hosea.
Even our Psalm for the day and its response shows us how idolatry, that is,
thinking we can save ourselves by turning to human made gods is placed
before us today in the response and the content of the Psalm. Yet, we cry
out with the true believers, "The house of Israel trusts in the Lord."
Jesus has cured the deaf man and released his bound tongue. He will carry
on the message by his trust in the Lord. We, too, through our own prayer
and our baptismal commitment can do the same. This divine action of curing
a deaf and mute person is a victory over the sin, the obtuseness, and the
rejection of the religious leaders Jesus encountered. Hosea and Jesus are
on the same page of the lectionary. We must be there too. Amen.
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