From our Old Testament reading, from Hosea: ‘I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be as the dew to Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, he shall strike root as the poplar; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom as the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon’.

These words recall another passage from Hosea: ‘Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt’.

The ‘Valley of Achor’ means a place that is muddy, gloomy, dejected. It is precisely this place that is the door of hope. Entering into this place, in faith, we can respond to the love of the Lord, and flourish and grow.

May God bless you this day.