The Prophet Hosea

Friends in Christ, today’s first reading is from the prophet Hosea. Hosea was one of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament; he lived in the 8th century BC. At that time, Israel had been tragically split into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom; Hosea is preaching mostly to the northern kingdom, in which the people had gotten terribly involved in all kinds of idolatry, taking up the ways of the pagans.
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Hosea will refer to the Northern Kingdom as ‘Israel,’ which it was called, but he will also preach sometimes to the tribe of Ephraim, the largest tribe, sometimes signifying the whole nation.
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Hosea has been considered a ‘prophet of doom,’ and while he certainly was warning the people of the dangerous path they were on, he also has a message of hope. It is interesting, that he uses his own experiences to teach symbolically God’s dealings with his people. Hosea’s wife left him to be a prostitute, similarly, Israel abandoned the True God, and prostituted herself to the pagan gods.
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Hosea searched for his wife, forgave her, and bought her back; similarly, God would not abandon his people, but would seek them out to save them. We can now understand even more of Hosea’s meanings because we see now that Jesus, who is the Bridegroom, has come to save the Church, the Bride of Christ. And as Hosea bought his wife back from slavery, so too did Christ purchase our salvation by his death on the cross.
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Just as Hosea warned the northern kingdom to be faithful again to God, to repent, so too it is a warning to us never to forsake Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom. Hosea in his warning, was right on target, for soon after his preaching, the northern kingdom indeed, was conquered by the Assyrians, and the people were shipped off, to mix into other cultures. It was a shock to them.
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Hosea is an important warning to us today; we can see playing out before our eyes, what happens to society and souls, when Christians follow the pagan culture and give up a Godly way of life.
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We ourselves are not responsible for all the evil of the world, but we are responsible for building up the kingdom of God in our own sphere of influence: in our job, our friends, and our family. In this, Our Lord has given us much responsibility.

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