“I will lead her into the desert and speak to
her heart.”-- Hosea 2:16
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you!”-- Matthew 9:22
How do we respond to cruelty, deceit and infidelity? To lies and injustice?
My first instinct always is to respond in kind, even though I know how unhappy
that will make me in the end. That’s why I so desperately need the example
of Hosea and the Gospel stories of Jesus.
Today’s readings are filled with words of beauty, fidelity and healing. The
Lord’s promise in the passage from Hosea is “I will love you forever.” It’s
not “I will love you unless or until you displease me,” or “I will love you
if you will love me in return.” It’s just this: The Lord loves. And there’s
really nothing you can do to change that.
The Lord constantly speaks to our hearts. We need to find places like the
desert, where distractions are few, so that we may listen.
In the simplest terms, today’s readings tell me that I owe it to myself to
try to be loving, like the Lord, ALL THE TIME. Yes, I know I will fail at
times. Yet if I have enduring faith, there also will be success.
I find myself wondering what might happen in my marriage if I was faithful
to this simple, powerful value in every one of my interactions with my wife,
including the times when we disagree and fight. What might happen if I remembered
more often that I am here to love my kids, not to control them?
And what about the workplace, where many of us often are bound by fears about
security instead of bonded by respectful, appropriate love for one another?
Sometimes, it seems, it is just beyond our abilities to find ways to love
the raging boss, the gossiping colleague, or the bubble-headed know-it-all.
I never go through a day without encountering some situation in need of healing.
Faith brings healing.
Today’s Gospel story breaks my heart. I am a parent. I easily can imagine
the anguish of losing a child. I easily can imagine bringing all of that
pain to the Lord Jesus and pleading, “Do something!” I easily can imagine
the delirious joy upon having a little girl restored to life and health by
This story comes in a “wrapper”: the story of the healing of the woman whose
bleeding hadn’t stopped in years. She thinks that all she needs to do is
touch Jesus’ garment and His power will heal her. When she is healed, Jesus
tells her (and us) that the power of faith heals.
Each and every day, Jesus offers all of us opportunities to embrace and demonstrate
our faith and to be his healing instruments here, where there is so much
pain. Realizing that is enough to make me delirious with joy.