Saint John of God, Religious
Hosea 14:2-10;Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17; Mark 12:28-34
Take with you words, and return to the Lord. (Hosea 14:3)
Why return to the Lord? Because we are sinners and need his salvation. Because in him we find compassion. Because he promises to heal our infidelity and love us freely. Ultimately, because he longs to cleanse us from our sins and draw us back to him.
But what words should we take with us? What words will give us a good hearing? They don’t have to be eloquent words. They don’t even have to be original words. In today’s Gospel, for instance, Jesus commends a scribe simply for repeating what Jesus himself has just said. There is wisdom in repeating the truth, and sometimes the truths that are easiest to speak have the deepest meaning.
Words are not costly. They don’t involve offerings, sacrifice, or service. But inexpensive words have great value in God’s eyes when they are spoken by a humble heart that knows its need for mercy. Think, for instance, of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we come to the Lord in confession and use plain language to ask for his mercy, he pours out an immense amount of grace to forgive, heal, and restore.
Urging them to take words with them, the prophet Hosea told the Israelites to be straightforward in their dealings with the Lord. Likewise for us, we shouldn’t try to cover things up or gloss over our sins. We shouldn’t let pride block the truth. Instead, we should just go and tell the Lord, in our own words, what we have done. We should, in our own words, ask him to wash us clean.
Jesus wants to lift us up. He wants to receive us and cleanse us. He wants us to enjoy his presence and his grace. He knows that the only way for this to happen is if we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ask the Lord for his mercy. And the good news is that as soon as we do confess, we are forgiven. All the obstacles are removed, and God’s grace floods our hearts. Nothing compares with the feeling of freedom, the sense of relief and happiness, that comes when we take words with us and seek the mercy of the Lord!
“Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.” (Psalm 51:3)~WAU