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Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all.
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.
No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children’s children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever. –Ezekiel 37:21-28
I didn’t mean to do a Lectio post today but this reading speaks to something that has been on my heart for three weeks — since the time that I last received Holy Communion. Holy Communion is sustenance for the spirit; just as a healthy meal feeds the body, the Eucharist feeds the soul. This whole chapter from Ezekiel speaks to me about the Eucharist, because it is about life, and the Eucharist is life for the soul.
The reading is from Ezekiel 37, (I recommend reading the whole thing), in which God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the dead, dry bones. He is told to do this in two stages: prophesy to the bones to hear the word of the LORD, saying, “Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life,” and then to prophesy to the breath, saying, “From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.”
Wow. I want to make an important point about Ezekiel: he had never received the Sacraments but God was clearly working through him. Remember this. This event occurred almost 600 years before Jesus. God was speaking particularly about the unification of the two kingdoms: Israel and Judah. They were in exile, both physically and spiritually. God was preparing to bring the dead back to life — God is always wanting to unify His people! This prophecy is indeed one for the ages.
The Church teaches that God normally works through the Sacraments, especially Baptism. We are encouraged to do what we can within our own natural powers to be fed supernaturally through the Sacraments, but it is clear from Ezekiel that God can and will work outside the Sacraments.
This is so important in our times today. I firmly believe that God is calling us to seek Him in the depths of our spirits — the depths of the life He has already breathed into us. We all have become complacent. God is calling us to unity, to recognize the beauty and glory of the life within us, and the life within the persons near us. We are unified through His life — the seed of the Gospel already planted within us. He has made an everlasting covenant through “His servant David” who is our KING. He is our Shepherd and He has made His dwelling with us — His sanctuary is our HEARTS!
This prophecy is for us, too. It is not just for the ancient people of Israel and Judah. It is for us TODAY.
It is time for the Baptized to truly understand the Spirit dwelling within, and the power of God, through intercession of His people, to heal. It is through our action, in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, that the world will know the holiness of God.
Indeed, the Eucharist is the source and summit, but any liturgy on earth pales in comparison to the divine, eternal liturgy celebrated for all time in the heavenly realm. The heavenly liturgy is as near as our choice to participate in it in every moment. And we do, as our priests continue to offer the Holy Sacrifice on earth, and we “lift up our hearts,” in union with them!
God is with us and we need to live like He is, in the covenant of peace.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:37-39).”
Do we BELIEVE?
For more on partaking in our hearts of the Heavenly Banquet, read this by St. Gregory Nazianzen (click link).