Today’s first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel chapter 37, the famous “dry bones vision.” Ezekiel has been the source of all the first readings for this week. It has been a week in which the Word of God came to the prophet and directed him to preach a word of destruction against Jerusalem, the kingdom of Tyre and the shepherds (kings) of Judah and Israel. Then the Word of God changes.
In Wednesday’s first reading, after condemning the shepherds (kings), we have the wonderful passage from Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.” And indeed, God sent his only son to be the King of kings and the Good Shepherd.
Thursday, the Word got even better:
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees…you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ez 36:25-28)
That is what God plans to do and in today’s reading Ezekiel is given the vision of the result of that promise:
“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.” (Ez 37:9-10)
It is always good to pay attention when God breathes into the world. The ruah (breath/spirit) hovered over the void of chaos at Creation and there was life. God sent the Good Shepherd at whose baptism the Holy Spirit hovered. The ruah of God hovered over the disciples at Pentecost and there was new life for the Church – all this just as God promised.
The ruah, breath, Spirit of God is present in the world, fulfilling the promises of the Covenant, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. “…you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” God is fulfilling the divine side of the deal. We are called to let the Spirit heal our dry bones and be the people of God in the world.
Figure out the part of your life, the hard part of your heart, or whatever burdens you. Ask the breath of God to instill new life in you.
Image: central imagery from blockislandtimes.com/sites/ marked as “public”