Heart Transplant – Thursday, 20th week in ordinary time – Ezekiel 36:23-28

We are still reflecting on the oracles of restoration that are found in Ezekiel chapters 33-39. This section is dedicated to the oracles that pertain to the land and the people and this chapter in particular focuses on the restoration of the community that live in the land.

We are also looking at the highpoint of Ezekiel’s theology of salvation and justification. This theology is based solely on the fact that it is God’s grace and his grace alone that saves us. The words of Ezekiel are similar to the words of his predecessor, the prophet Jeremiah, who echoes similar words in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Our focal verses (24-28) are midway through an oracle which begins in 36:16 and ends in 36:38. The opening verses of the oracle provide a history of the house of Israel focused on their misdeeds. They are reminded of their past and their disobedience, but the prophecy does not end there. Despite these actions and precisely because of God’s concern for God’s holy name, God will act now to rescue them.

God begins by reminding the Israelites that He has been perceived as ‘ineffective’ in the eyes of the nations because of the wickedness of his people. It was Israel that provoked God’s hands and forced them into exile. Now, the scattering of the Jews among the nations gave the impression that God could not protect his people. What has been undone by the Israelites by their action can only be restored by God so that seeing the actions of God the nations may recognise and glorify the one true God.

I guess the same can be said of every Christian, who by their behaviour, desecrates the holy name of God. Sanctifying and glorifying the name (person and power) of God is what God’s people are called to do, a fact made evident in the Lord’s Prayer: “hallowed by Thy Name.” Think about it; we are the only Jesus some may ever see; what if our actions bring scandal to the Church and to the name of God?

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