Saturday of the 5th week of Lent

Prophesies, like the one from Ezekiel, can seem unrelatable. His words seem like they were meant for a people long ago and have no reference to what we experience today or how we understand the world of today. Yet, these words are just as important for us as they were for the Israelites of the 6th century. This prophesy is a list of ways in which God is going to form his people. He wants a people who are his own. He is going to make this people so that he can care for them and protect them, show them his glory and show his glory through them. These people are going to be special; God’s own people. Did he do that? Yes, kind of. We assume that God’s people would be a specific nation or nationality. But he didn’t do that. He grafted all people into his people through the Sacrament of Baptism. Through Baptism all people have a part in God’s life and are brought into his mystery by choosing to become his people. So, yes, God did make a people his own, a people from every tribe and nation.

The second part of Ezekiel’s prophesy relates to the division among the Israelites. Following the death of Solomon, his two sons divided the kingdom among themselves forming two parts of the kingdom of Israel. Their example reminds us of our own dividedness. We are divided between choosing the things of God and choosing those of the world; from what we think is good, from what we know is good; from doing what is right, versus what is comfortable, pleasing, or helpful in that moment. We experience a lot of division in our lives. God wants to heal this division. He wants to be the ruler of our lives so that we do not have to worry about these issues but turn completely to him in our needs. God wants us to be single mindedly focused on him. 

This division extends further into idolatry, abominations, transgressions, apostasy, and uncleanliness. We are not only divided by the things of the world that vie for our attention, we cause some of the division by choosing against God’s will for us. These choices put a division in power in our lives between God taking the throne and ruling over our lives and our passions and desires becoming a god-like replacement. But this also is not what God wants. He want to “put [his] sanctuary among [us].” He wants to have a place in our lives where he dwells so that he can “be among us forever.” God did this through the mystery of Pentecost and Confirmation. He gave his Spirit to the disciples at Pentecost and gives us his Spirit at Confirmation so that we may know that God is always with us. As St. Theresa of Avila writes, God is so close to us that we don’t have to go out to find him but journey inwards to the depth of the soul where God resided. The people God wanted to make his own would not have to travel to a temple or special place to encounter him, but that he would walk with them always and everywhere like he did with Adam and Eve in the garden. 

Ezekiel’s prophesy is just as important for us as it was for the Israelites. God still wants all people to come to acknowledge that he is God, the ruler of everything. He wants to form a people to follow his ways and experience the depth of his mercy and providence. God wants us; he wants every part of us. He wants to be with us always and everywhere. What does this mean? How do I live this reality in my life? How do I live in accord with the reality that God wants to be with me?

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