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Friday, April 1, 2011

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Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17
Mark 12:28-34

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"Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt." —Hosea 14:2

Hosea married Gomer, who publicly committed adultery and made him the laughingstock of the town (Hos 1:2). The Lord says we do the same thing to Him by our sins (see e.g. Jer 3:9). The normal reaction to an adulterous spouse is anger and hatred (e.g. Hos 2:4ff). The Lord's reaction, however, is forgiveness and unconditional love (Hos 2:16-25). God says to us in our unfaithfulness: "I will espouse you to Me forever; I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord" (Hos 2:21-22).

The Lord calls us to return to Him. He will heal our defection and love us freely (Hos 14:5). The Father embraces and kisses those who repent of rejecting Him (Lk 15:20). Jesus prevents those caught in the act of adultery from being stoned to death (Jn 8:7ff). Jesus died for those who mocked Him and tried to make a fool out of Him. Even when we hate ourselves, He loves us. When we won't forgive ourselves, He's forgiven us. When we deserve punishment, He wants to give mercy. Even after our adulterous compromise with the world (Jas 4:4, JB, RNAB), His love is everlasting (Ps 136:1, JB).

Repent and return to the Bridegroom, Jesus (Mk 2:19).

Prayer:  Father, I repent of spiritual adultery. Thank You for taking me back.

Promise:  "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." —Mk 12:29-30

Praise:  Being away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation for many years, George accepted God's grace, made a good Confession, and returned to his First Love.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Spiritual Adultery on audio AV 53-1 or video V-53.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011

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