Rewind or Fast Forward? Saturday, 5th Week in Lent – Ezekiel 37:21-28/ John 11:45-56

I am reminded of our old music systems which we called the ‘cassette player.’  It had a rewind, fast forward, play, pause and record button. The readings on the eve of Palm Sunday seem to reflect these buttons. The first reading is God hitting the rewind button as if to make it all disappear and go back to a fresh start. The Gospel is the play button, for the passion of Christ begins with the Lazarus narrative; “it was on his account that they wanted to put Jesus to death.” There will be moments when the passion of Christ will become too painful to hear or you may simply wish the Sacred Tridum to hurry up and fast forward to Easter. Good Friday will be the big pause but the week to come has been recorded so that we never forget what God has done for us.

The first reading taken from Ezekiel portrays a God in a hurry to wipe the slate clean. In Eight verses, he desires to rewind several centuries of Israel’s history of sin. This is not because God is embarrassed by his divine retribution for his ‘chosen people’ but rather because he has caved in out of love. He is a God who begged, and pleaded for his people to change but was left with indifference leading to divine retribution. Yet the anger of God melts in Ezekiel 37 like butter on a hot day.

God wants to go back to the days of David; one kingdom and not two. One nation and not two (northern kingdom and southern kingdom). One God and not to the many they had appropriated. God hits the rewind button to go back to the past and erase the Assyrian and Babylonian exile, the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  The eve of the Holy Week begins with God desiring to make all things right for the love of his people.

The Gospel however tells us that for man it is business as usual. This time they are in the business of murder and the ones doing the plotting are members of the highest religious body. The meeting of the Pharisees and the chief priest betrays their unbelief versus the belief of the people. It reveals their plotting and scheming over the love that the people have for Jesus.

One may feign disbelief, but history has borne witness to the halls of sacred places that have dripped with the blood of the innocent, sanctioned by ‘religious men.’ The best of us can switch places with Caiphas or the Pharisees or Judas. Guarding our souls is a serious business especially when we claim to have taken the moral high ground. The hands that sacrificed to God may also be the hands that drip with human blood; all done in God’s name.

The Holy Week is upon us. You may have let this season of Lent pass you by but don’t let this week slip by too. This is the week that changed the world. This could be the week that changes you.

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