Hosea 14:2-10
Mark 12:28-34


Each time I have read from Hosea I see hope, encouragement, and fidelity. We have kept God in a box for too long wanting formula to guide us, inform us. But we do not need any of these prescriptions – only to love, be compassionate and have mercy.

These are the elements that guided Jesus throughout his ministry including prayer and solitude. For Jesus, the central point is his ‘God’, and his unwavering belief is harnessed in and through compassion.

We have and still have people wanting us to berate ourselves and be merciless on our errors and mistakes – Hosea gives us another point of reference – humble yourselves, trust in God and live with mercy and trust. God is always inviting us to come home to see that nothing will separate us from him or his love.

In our relationship, we stuff up, and we hurt, but never with the intent to kill off our relationship. Well, surprise, surprise, neither does God. He is forever waiting for our hearts to return.

The gospel from Mark jolts us into reality – the Law of the Old Testament – the Torah rests on two principles: Love of God and neighbour. The church in the past had us crying from a state of unworthiness, yet for Jesus, we are all invited to live in God’s domain of love and friendship.

What a joy and challenge to hand ourselves over to the God of love, emulating and living gospel values yet aware of our fragility and failure. God, like parents, can overlook many things, and we, as parents and friends, do the same.

Compassion is the way and, on our way, let us forgive, show mercy and live with the view that every neighbour is worthy of love, respect and forgiveness. So, the onus is on us. As St Mary Mackillop said, “Never see a need without doing something about it”

Paul Traynor is married to Clare and has two children Sam and Lucy. He lives in Greytown which is in the Wairarapa Region on the North Island of New Zealand. Paul is currently working as the National Passionist Family Groups Coordinator for Aotearoa, New Zealand.