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Lenten meditations on justice and peace

March 20, Friday

Readings: Hosea 14:2-10, Psalm 81, Mark 12:28-34

Today's message is simple.

Turn away from idolatry and worship the one true God.

What is the greatest commandment Jesus asks? To love God with all your mind, heart, soul and strength. And the second? To love your neighbor as yourself.

How do we worship God?

The readings of this Lenten season have described this in detail -- faith, trust, hope, obedience, and grace . . . feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and those in prison. . . repentance, reconciliation, and covenant.

If we love our God with all our heart, might, mind, and soul, we love our neighbors as ourselves, we grow in solidarity with them. This again falls under "Pious Platitude Alert", but the repetitive nature of the saying should not blind us to its compelling reality.

Hosea calls us to put our trust in God, not in the work of human hands, not in the military might of the superpowers of the era, but rather in the God who gives compassion to the fatherless. As we do this, our "defection" is healed, wrath is turned away, the desert blossoms and becomes fruitful. This is the true wisdom, even if it isn't endorsed by the "conventional wisdom" of our secular era. No wonder the crowd didn't dare ask Jesus any more questions. He had already explained what they needed to know -- clearly and without ambiguity. When we understand this, like the scribe who questioned Jesus, we are not far from the Reign of God.