20th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year II

In today’s First Reading the Lord gives Ezekiel a vision depicting the degree of Israel’s hopelessness in the face of its present situation. We all have moments where we say to ourselves, sarcastically or not, “I’m dead. It’s hopeless.” The plain of bones shows a degree of death so vast that there is not even anyone left to bury the dead: it’s complete death. Yet the Lord invites Ezekiel to speculate whether such total death can be reversed, and he, as we, respond that only the Lord, the Lord of life, would know.

Ezekiel prophesies at the Lord’s command and, in the first two prophesies, something happens even as he speaks. The bones have their flesh returned to them, and then the spirit of life is breathed back into them. The prophesies that follow are phrased as promises: that the Lord would raise them from the grave itself, restore them in a stable way in the Promised Land, put his own spirit into him, and they would know that he was the Lord. These promises would be fulfilled in the future, beginning with his Son: some day we will be raised up from the grave, settled forever in the Promised Land, be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and, with the veil of faith withdrawn, know the Lord as he is, face to face.

Even in the face of certain death we have nothing to fear. The Lord is faithful to his promises if we are faithful to him.

Readings: Ezekiel 37:1–14; Psalm 107:2–9; Matthew 22:34–40. See also 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Sunday, Cycle C3rd Week of Lent,Friday,  9th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday and 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, and 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday.