Dem bones, dem dry bones

Today’s first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel chapter 37, the famous “dry bones vision.” Ezekiel has been the source of all the first readings for this week. It has been a week in which the Word of God came to the prophet and directed him to preach a word of destruction against Jerusalem, the kingdom of Tyre and the shepherds (kings) of Judah and Israel. Then the Word of God changes.

In Wednesday’s first reading, after condemning the shepherds (kings), we have the wonderful passage from Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.” And indeed, God sent his only son to be the King of kings and the Good Shepherd.

Thursday, the Word got even better

I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees…you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ez 36:25-28)

That is what God plans to do and in today’s reading Ezekiel is given the vision of result of the promise

Thus says the Lord GOD: From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them; they came alive and stood upright” (Ez 37:9-10)

It is always good to pay attention when God breathes into the world. The ruah (breath/spirit) hovered over the void of chaos at Creation and there was life. God sent the Good Shepherd at whose baptism the Holy Spirit hovered. The ruah of God hovered over the disciples at Pentecost and their was new life for the Church – all this just as God promised.

The ruah, breath, Spirit of God is present in the world, fulfilling the promises of the Covenant, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. “…you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” God is fulfilling the divine side of the deal. We are called to let the Spirit heal our dry bones and be the people of God in the world.

Figure out the part of your life, the hard part of your heart, or whatever burdens you. Ask the breath of God to instill new life in you.

Image: central imagery from marked as “public”

Making your mom proud

What ever happened to a shared sense of manners? Possibly such a question is just the first indication that I am growing really old, as in, ‘What’s wrong with these young people” kind of old. “I remember when….” All possibly true, but I do remember when snark, outrage, and the rest were a poor reflection on your upbringing. Maybe the internet needs a Artificial Intelligence Mom to scold and dispense “time outs” to miscreant behaviors. Continue reading

Assumptions about membership in the Kingdom

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we looked at some widely held views about how many would be saved – both in 1st century Judaism and in our modern times.

Jesus envisages some of those rejected as pleading that they had known the Lord (v.26). They ate and drank where he was; he taught where they were. They cannot claim that they ever entered into a compassionate understanding of what he was teaching. There was no acceptance, no response; their response was insincere, if at all. It is a sad case that, in every age, there are people under the illusion that they were following Jesus.  While they claim that they ate and drank with him, they fail to understand they had no intimate fellowship; they heard his teaching but did not accept it as the word of God to be put into practice (8:21). Continue reading