Gospel: Mt 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. One of them, a lawyer, questioned him to test him, “Teacher, which commandment of the law is the greatest?”
Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets are founded on these two commandments.”
The prophet Ezekiel was one of the Jews deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. He had warned his nation about this possible disaster before the fall of Jerusalem (Ez 1—24), but to no avail. He lived the rest of his life in exile. However, a good part of his book (chs. 33 to 39) describes the return of the people to Palestine and the restoration of the temple of Jerusalem, and of the nation Israel. Today’s first reading is taken from this section of his book.
In the previous chapter of the book (as we saw in yesterday’s first reading) God has announced through Ezekiel the gift of the Spirit to enable individual Israelites henceforth to obey the law faithfully. In today’s reading it is announced that the Spirit will also be given collectively to the people and will thus restore and renew the nation, following its exile to the graveyard of Babylon. This national resurrection is predicted here symbolically in a vision of dry bones coming back to life under the action of the Holy Spirit (mentioned 7 times here).
The Holy Spirit is our life-giving energy, enabling us to serve God freely and joyfully.
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