3rd week in Lent, Saturday – 18th March 2023 – Hosea 5,15-6,6; Luke 18,9-14
In the first reading, prophet Hosea composes a penitential prayer and describes people’s reaction when they are faced with difficulties. They are terrified by threats of punishment and of being abandoned by him. Suddenly, they become “religious” and call on God for help. It is only in rough times they turn to the Lord and seek God’s help. When things are not going well, they start practicing the external signs of their religion. In other moments they forget the Lord and his guiding presence. God sees through the emptiness of their pious expressions. The reason for God’s toughness is the superficiality of their commitment to him. Finally, God spells it out clearly and says, “it is love that I desire, not sacrifice; and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” What God has wanted from them is genuine loving actions, not empty rituals performed piously. It is a loving desire and decision to do what is right in God’s eyes. God expects from his chosen people knowledge of God, not knowledge about God, but a knowledge implying a deep interpersonal relationship instead of showy holocausts.