Hos 10:1-3, 7-8, 12
In today’s first reading, God’s chosen people, the Israelites, are idolatrous; building up altars and sacred pillars for themselves, not for God. The reading from Hosea conjures images of the Hebrews dancing before the golden calf after their exodus from Egypt. The prophet makes it clear that such idolatry will not, cannot, prevail. I was reflecting on this in the past week as we have been without power: at Bethlehem Farm, we pride ourselves on being sustainable, but being without electricity, and for the first few days, gasoline, put into perspective just how dependent we are on these fossil fuels. Our solar panels didn’t even work because they are connected to the grid! I certainly don’t think I’m worshiping fossil fuels, but do I rely on God as much? How would society be different if we sought the Lord as much as we seek new oil and gas wells?
The psalm reminds us that God is the God of all, with Israel the firstborn, the chosen people: called to be a light to the nations. And to whom much is given, much is expected. So too with us. You are reading this blog. Faith is obviously a very important part of your life. To what is God calling you now? As Hosea tells us, “Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain down justice upon you.”
Our Gospel recounts the summoning of the apostles and lists them. They were not particularly notable people before Jesus called them by name. Jesus called everyday people like you and I to be his closest followers and friends, to perform miracles in His name and spread the Good News that “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”. We hear this a lot, but what does it actually mean? In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus continues to instruct them to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons: to restore those on the margins of society to health and acceptance. To acknowledge the inherent dignity of all people and to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. God calls us to do the same today. Love is the governing force of God’s Kingdom; love is God’s justice! Let us bring forth the Kingdom of God.
-Moira Reilly (PVI-Jamaica ’06-’07) is a caretaker at Bethlehem Farm, an intentional Catholic community in Appalachia that transforms lives through service with the local community and the teaching of sustainable practices. We invite volunteers to join us in living the Gospel cornerstones of prayer, community, service, and simplicity. www.bethlehemfarm.net