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March 20th - Hosea 14: 1-9

Fr. Michael MachacekNativity of Our LordMarch 21, 2020
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The readings for today's mass can be found in the Living with Christ website:

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The very first verse of the first reading for today's mass has a rather haunting call:

Thus says the Lord: Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.

The word iniquity, of course, is another way of saying sinfulness. Throughout the books of the various prophets we find in the Old Testament, there is a frequent cry to the people to wake up, to think about what they have been doing, to consider their relationships with each other and with God. We frequently hear the sadness and sorrow of God, who laments over the ways of the people just like a parent can lament over the ways of their children.

Hence, throughout the prophets we encounter a frequent and basic message from God: "Come back to me".

During this time of great uncertainty, I believe that so many of us are receiving a terribly blunt wake up call - a call to live and act responsibly, such as the call to stay home as much as one can, to make sure there is proper distancing when we go into to places such as grocery stores, a call to frequently wash our hands. Even in practicing such simple actions, the COVID-19 crisis reminds us of a basic fact - our actions and inactions can affect others in a myriad of ways that we are often unaware of. This no longer a time to think of just our rights - but rather our responsibilities.

There is another thing that is coming to our attention during these difficult days - waking up to what really matters in our lives - our families, our friends, our colleagues at school or at work, and most of all, come back to our God.

During the 2nd World War there was a common phrase said amongst soldiers: "There are no atheists in foxholes". So often in our time of crisis we discover that innate need for God that is embedded in the very core of our being. Many will discover this need in the days to come.

In our gospel today (Mark 12: 28b -34) we hear of the 2 great commandments - to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Waking up to our responsibilities to ourselves, to each other and to our God - and most importantly, then living them out with love and compassion and caring.

Lord, we call upon You - give us the strength and courage to do so!

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