Immersed in Christ: August 21, 2020
FRIDAY of the TWENTIETH WEEK in Ordinary Time
Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
(Responsorial: Psalm 107)
Ezekiel 37:1-14: Over and over again we have heard Ezekiel foretelling that the People’s sins would bring down death and deportation. And it did. Those not slaughtered by the invaders saw their spouses and children die in exile. And died themselves.
But with God, death does not have the last word. The final, complete revelation of this was the Resurrection of Jesus. But here Ezekiel gives us a preview of what Christ’s resurrection means for the rest of us: “See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.”
The prophecy is not just about physical resurrection. The “death and deportation” we see around us in God’s People today appears in the death of faith and hope, in the voluntary exile chosen by those who leave the Church, abandoning the Mass and those who assemble for it. God is saying, “See! I can bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.”
To those who are saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off,” God answers:
O my people, I will open your graves, if I have to, and have you rise from them. I will bring you back to your friends, your family and your Father’s house, to the renewed Church that I will show you: the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, in splendor... holy and without blemish.1
“See! I can bring spirit into you—and into the Church—that you may come to life together.”
Those who believe “that there will be a fulfillment of what was spoken by the Lord,” will see with their own eyes that “Nothing is impossible with God.”2
Ministry lives by this hope.
In Matthew 22:33-40, Jesus tells us where ministry goes wrong, and how it can be re-empowered. A “Pharisee” asked him, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He was both a “scholar of the law,” a “scribe,” and a Pharisee, whose religious focus was on law observance. But Jesus refused to get into his mind-set by “rating” the different Commandments as laws. Instead he went “above and beyond” law by giving two principles which were too all-embracing to be treated as specific laws but included them all. He just said, “Love.”
Ministry is distorted when we teach people to observe rules instead of making it the rule of our teaching to relate everything we do to consciously loving God and others. It is the Spirit of love that revives the “dry bones” of “rule-centered” religion.
Initiative: Think faith, foster hope, live love. Minister to give life.
1 See Genesis 12:1; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 21:2. 2 Luke 1:37, 45; Matthew 17:20; 19:26.