Hos 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22; Ps 145:2-9; Mt 9:18-26
So many of the psalms arise from hearts filled with wonder and praise. Today’s responsorial psalm publishes the fame of the LORD’s abundant goodness. We join King David and all the faithful in every age to discourse of the splendor of his glorious majesty and tell of his wondrous works. Indeed our discourse proclaims the power of his terrible deeds and declares his greatness. What is so terrible about the deeds of the LORD? His justice and love terrify all who hate him. His might and splendor blind all who despise him. The LORD God Almighty is so good to all, and compassionate to all his works, that anyone who opposes him is terrified. What frightens them the most is that they must abandon injustice and grown in compassion if they are to survive the greatness of the LORD, the splendor of his majesty. Indeed, the Father’s wondrous works puts even the good and holy people of every age to shame. No one can boast before his unsearchable greatness. No one has any splendor outside his splendor. All our greatness and might are found in the LORD, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness. In the LORD alone do we boast; in him do we find our own glory! We cannot sing, shout, and share the fame of the LORD enough. Indeed, we find our only joy in giving glory to the one who gives us his glory. The glory of the Lord Jesus is prefigured in the prophecy of Hosea who reveals the LORD’s intention to espouse us in right and justice, in love and mercy. This good news from Hosea is spread throughout all the land where the Lord Jesus walked and healed. He, the divine spouse, allures us upon whom he has laid his hand. We rise from the death of sin in baptism and begin to live in the love and mercy of the Kingdom of Heaven already here and yet to come.
The prophet, Hosea, knew the pain of an unfaithful lover. Hosea, like the LORD, was abandoned by his spouse. Gomer fled from the security of marriage to a prophet for the pleasures of the streets. She was the embodiment of Israel who had fled the security of the covenant for the delights of “My baal.” Even in the land of promise the children of Abraham find greater joy in giving free reign to their desires by worshiping the gods of the nations. While in Egypt the children of God were attracted and deceived by the gods of Pharaoh. Such a false and destructive religion distorted the hearts of all God’s people. It is after many generations in the desert that the LORD speaks to her heart and she begins to respond as in the days of her youth. Through Hosea’s preaching, the LORD promises to allure Israel out into the barren land, so they can bear the blessings of the Promised Land. It seems that in every age there is no glory without suffering. There is no crown without the cross. Without the testing in the wilderness, the people of God do not know the LORD and his faithful love. Even after generations of spousal infidelity, the LORD espouses his beloved-lost. The LORD espouses her in right and justice, in love and in mercy. Indeed, we are espoused in fidelity and we shall know the LORD, even as he knows us. Can there be anymore tender mercy, any greater intimacy?
Those invested in this age and its lies ridicule him and anyone who follows him. All who see him in the market place ridicule Hosea, the faithful husband of a harlot. The Lord Jesus is ridiculed when he puts out the crowd by saying, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” This ridicule is consistent and constant in every age and in every place. It is the automatic reaction of those who are terrified by the goodness and mercy of the LORD. The powerful official speaks up for his voiceless daughter. The longsuffering woman has no voice, but dares to touch the tassel of his cloak. She only speaks to herself, but the LORD dignifies her inner dialogue with his public praise, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” Many cynical and faithless people would have kept the Lord Jesus from bothering with another rich kid, or from bothering with another sickly woman. He comes to raise the dead and heal the hidden sick. He comes to give good gifts, the Holy Spirit, to those who ask even in silence. Here is our Divine Spouse healing us and loving us into new life. Such good news is bound to spread throughout all the land. Are we ready to receive all who come to join us in wonder and praise? Do we have room in our hearts and our churches for the powerless and lifeless? Or will we, too, ridicule him who praises the silent and raises the dead?