0

Hope Amongst the Dry Bones

First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and led me out in the Spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:
Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, “Lord GOD, you alone know that.”
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit: 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, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.”
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say,
those whom he has redeemed from the hand of the foe
And gathered from the lands,
from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They went astray in the desert wilderness;
the way to an inhabited city they did not find.
Hungry and thirsty,
their life was wasting away within them.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them.
And he led them by a direct way
to reach an inhabited city.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men,
Because he satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry soul with good things.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

NAB

aug 19 (1)

Today’s reading from Ezekiel is one of those incredibly powerful images that we find appropriately “epic” in the Old Testament. The Lord has taken Ezekiel out into a plain and as far as the eye can see are dead, dry bones.

I feel like this image is powerful for us today. I often feel skeptical, I look around at our society and communities and it is so easy to just see dried up bones as far as the eye can see. We live in a time where human life is so blatantly trampled upon, where human dignity is not valued, where the transcendent and eternal have no bearing on how people live. Where is the supernatural life that God so desperately wants us to have?

But the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to say His words and give life to that which is dead. The army of bones arise and themselves speak and say they have no hope. How many in our world, in our lives, in our communities are living without hope but cannot say it?

God wants to bring these bones back into the house of Israel, just as He wants each and every person to come to His Church today. He wants everyone to drink of the waters of eternal life, to live in His love today and for eternity. And God is asking us who know Him to speak His word to those who are dry bones.

It may feel daunting as we are not prophets, but Christ tells us exactly what we need to do: Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Christ is saying these words to us just as God told Ezekiel what to say to make dry bones live. The words of God are truly this powerful, we just have to live them.

How can I commit today to living Christ’s words from the Gospel? What area of my life can I turn over more fully to God? Are there parts of my heart, my soul, my mind that I need to give to Christ more fully? 

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

No Comments

Leave a Reply