Daily Reflection June 9th, 2020

Daily Reflection June 9th, 2020

JUNE 9 St. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria

We sin if we consider it our duty to hate those whom our relatives hate. This hatred is passed on to us like a family sickness. In adopting the love of our relatives, we also adopt their hatred. Sometimes even great spiritual giants have succumbed to that weakness. Patriarch Theophilus disliked St. John Chrysostom and remained his bitter enemy even until death. Saint Cyril, his kinsman and successor to the throne of Alexandria, inherited that hatred against the holy Chrysostom and, for a long time, bore this hatred within himself. In vain did Saint Isidore of Pelusium advise Cyril to change his opinion about Chrysostom and to enter his name in the Diptych of the Saints, but Cyril could not change his ill will. Then the All-Holy Birth-giver of God, for whose glory and honor Cyril had fought so much against Nestorius, appeared to Cyril in a vision with a multitude of angels, and with them John Chyrsostom in great glory. The Holy and All-Pure one begged Chrysostom to forgive Cyril. Then Chrysostom approached Cyril and they embraced and kissed one another. This vision completely changed Cyril’s feelings toward Chrysostom, and Cyril repented with shame because he had rashly hated Chrysostom. That is why, to his death, Cyril did everything to glorify Chrysostom as a great saint of God.(St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid)

Fr John’s Reflection

Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord has a judgment for the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. Cursing and lying, murder and theft and adultery gushed forth in the land, and blood is mingled with blood. Therefore the land shall mourn and be diminished with all the things that dwell in it…My people are like those who have no knowledge…They shall eat and not be satisfied ; they have gone a-whoring and shall be no means prosper, because they have abandoned holding fast to the Lord. (Hosea 4:1-3, 6, 10)

My personal reading has brought me to the Book of Hosea. I think he is one of the most interesting prophets. Hosea was a prophet around 750 B.C. and he was commanded by the Lord to take as a wife a prostitute, Gomer, to be a parable to Israel. Hosea’s faithfulness to her contrasted with Gomer’s unfaithfulness to him becomes allegory for the faithfulness of God to His people Israel, who constantly “cheat” on Him.

The fourth chapter, quoted briefly above, is about God’s judgment on His people Israel. The descriptions of all the things that bring that judgment are graphic, abundant, and clear. But the verses above are a small taste of those actions. Do those verses look familiar? No truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land? Cursing and lying? Murder and theft? Adultery? Blood mingled with blood? Couldn’t that be an eyewitness account of our society today? Our country has fallen into the worst of abominations. We are soaked in blood, violence, death, greed, sex, and pornography. God has been forgotten and/or put aside and locked in a closet. What is the judgment of God on the nation that falls into that? They shall eat and not be satisfied. They will not prosper because they have abandoned holding fast to God. Our society today does not fear God, nor the consequences of faithlessness.

I think there are two points to be made about the whole fourth chapter of Hosea, but especially about the few verses above. First, having been written around 750 B.C., this prophecy reveals to us that we are not the first to face these temptations. One might safely say that every generation faces its own temptations of these types. A simple read of history shows this to be true. Are we proud enough to think that no one has ever sinned as we have sinned? If God commanded Hosea to show Israel their sin by marrying a prostitute, how are we called to account in our generation? Isn’t the Church the prophetic voice in today’s world? Or should be. As the Church, we trust God to reveal His will and direction to us. The world presents all sorts of prostitutes to us so that we can “become one flesh.” The difference is that Hosea prophesied through his marriage — we oftentimes gladly unite with the prostitute of our liking and receive the world’s blessing and confirmation that it is good.

The second point is that I am one person and cannot change a nation or the world. It is hard enough to try to change myself! Hosea was one person and was not sent to “change the world.” He was sent to do what God told him to do, be faithful to what he might not otherwise have been faithful to, and be an example to those who would see. We can only do the same thing. The world seems a very scary and fallen place. I can’t do anything about that. But I can be a Hosea — discerning what God wants me to do, being faithful to that in spite of my inclination to do anything else, and live a life that in the midst of the abominations can be seen as a light and example to those who would see. May it be so!