Thursday, August 11, 2016

Reflection for the 19th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Divine Pantomime

To modern people, the actions of the prophet Ezekiel can seem just plain weird. We might wonder why in the world God would ask Ezekiel to dig through a wall with his bare hands, pick up his baggage, and head off into the night. And we wouldn't be the only ones who might think that Ezekiel was a little nuts. The people of his own day did, too.

Ezekiel, however, is merely a participant in a kind of divine pantomime. God, through Ezekiel, had already proclaimed His warnings and rebukes to the people, but they didn't listen. So God decided to give them a visual lesson as well. Ezekiel would show them exactly what would happen to them if they didn't repent and obey God.

What was this impending fate? Exile. The people would be forced to pack up all they could carry and leave the rest behind. They would dig through the city walls in order to escape from their enemies who would hold the city in their power. They would squeeze through their laboriously dug passages, lift up their packs, and head off into the darkness. Most of them would never return.

See how patient God is with His people? If we don't get the message one way, He tries another. He gives us warning after warning and chance after chance. He even spells out exactly what will happen unless we change our ways. So let's learn our lesson from Ezekiel's divine pantomime and open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts to God.

Friday – Confident and Unafraid

Lord, make me confident and unafraid, for You are indeed my Savior.
Lord, make me confident and unafraid, for You are indeed my courage and my strength.
Lord, make me confident and unafraid, for You provide me with living water from Your fountain of salvation.
Lord, make me confident and unafraid that I may praise You with a grateful heart.
Lord, make me confident and unafraid that I may proclaim Your great love and Your great deeds.
Lord, make me confident and unafraid that I may shout with joy and bask in Your love.

Saturday – Personal Responsibility

Today's first reading from the prophet Ezekiel emphasizes personal responsibility. The Israelites apparently liked to recite a proverb that suggested that somehow children were responsible for their parents' sins and vice versa. God, however, corrects this notion.

First, God says that all lives belong to Him, parents and children both. This is extremely important. God is in charge. He sets the rules. He is the truth, and all truth comes from Him. He knows the minds and hearts of all.

So when God says that people are responsible for their own sins and that those who sin seriously risk spiritual death, then we need to listen, take the message to heart, and stop sinning. And when we do sin, we need to pray for forgiveness with trusting and repentant hearts, knowing that our lives are indeed in God's hands and that He doesn't want to lose even a single one of us.

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