Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Seven centuries before Our Lord was born, the northern kingdom of Israel was locked in a power struggle with the Assyrian Empire.  For many long years, Israel repeatedly put its trust in political solutions and military alliances instead of trusting in God.  Making matters worse, they also began to worship false gods, hoping that these idols would make them more prosperous.  As a result, the Israelites broke their covenant with God.  In 726 BC, the Assyrians attacked Israel and against the background of the growing Assyrian threat, the prophet Hosea called Israel to repentance.

Hosea was married to Gomer who was unfaithful to him.  And instead of divorcing her, he chose to forgive her, and in time, he won her back.  Hosea understood that the drama that was playing out in his personal life mirrored God’s relationship with Israel.

Just as God promised to heal Israel’s infidelity, so he is always ready to restore our relationship with him when we have broken it by our sin.  God is faithful even when we are unfaithful.  He loves us unconditionally and freely.  He never gives up on any of us and never withholds his love from those who don’t deserve it.  He never thinks anyone is too far gone or beyond his power to heal and save.

Hosea didn’t give up hope that his wife would return to him, or that Israel would return to God.  He dared to pray with great confidence, trusting in God’s compassion, love, and mercy.  Hosea’s example encourages us to pray confidently for the people and situations God has put in our hearts.  We all know what God can do through our prayers, especially when we place our complete faith and trust in him.

Hosea, the Prophet of Mercy

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