Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.
When Jesus prayed to his Father, addressing him with the affectionate Abba, he did so in the assurance of Hosea 11. Whether he was a boy in Joseph's house or an adult on the road to Jerusalem, he prayed with this deep awareness of his Father's love. He would never be in a foreign land or among an alien people so long as Abba's hand rested on his shoulder.
Jesus wants us to have that same assurance as he sends us out to proclaim, "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand."
There are certainly days when we feel like a stranger in a strange land. We live in a world of Future Shock unlike the land in which we were born. It becomes less familiar almost daily, Even my nephews, born in the 1980's, remark about how things have changed since their childhood.
If politicians worry about aliens from Latin America, Asia or Africa, what they're really anxious about is their own place in an increasingly foreign world.
The Lord stoops to us as one who is familiar. He is more familiar to us than we are to ourselves. His reassuring touch will inevitably seem strange to some; they have never known such at-home-ness. They are suspicious of friendship. As God says through the Prophet Hosea, "...they did not know that I was their healer."
The disciples God sends are wounded healers. Sometimes we are more aware of our wounds than of our mission. Daily we must let his peace alight on us, soothing and healing our troubled souls. It doesn't come overnight but it does come to those who wait. Very often it comes through the assurance we offer to others.