Sunday 29 March – Lent 5
Restoration of the Spirit.
Ezekiel 37: 1-14
The familiar story of the valley of dry bones hits us with the reality of the Covid 19 Pandemic. While being in lockdown and isolation may be difficult, it could be a time to focus on the “restoration of the Spirit” – a process of a new birth of life or the birth of new life. A process of slowing down, taking a deep breath and remembering that the key to life is the ‘Spirit’. Without it, our flesh and blood is just existence. But with God’s Spirit there is life – fullness of life as Jesus said.
And there is no WHERE on earth, no WHEN in time and no WHAT in any situation, that can keep God’s Spirit away from God’s people.
While the world around us is changing, bringing uncertainty, a feeling of being completely cut off and of hopelessness, may this be a time when we discover anew the unchanging, calming, and peaceful presence of God’s Spirit within us. Being empowered by the Spirit, we are called to hope – indeed, to faith, hope and love.
Continue to look after yourselves and each other.
When Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, he entered the temple, a sacred space, the dwelling place of God – and he finds people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and money changers seated at their tables.
What Jesus sees automatically makes him shift gear into ‘prophetic mode’, speaking and acting God’s truth in chaotic situations. Jesus acts first and speaks after, his actions are those of an angry prophet. He drives out the cattle and sheep – but not the people. He overturns the boxes and tables of the money people – but does not touch people. The people had no intention of violating God’s purposes and would never knowingly oppose God. The practices are tolerated and encouraged by the temple authorities.
Jesus shifts our understanding of temple. He replaces the sacred space of a building with the temple of his body, replacing the sacrificial offer of animals with the sacrificial offering of his life. The sacred space is in us too and we are challenged to clean.
In this period of Lent, what clutter takes up all our temple space?
What distractions occupy our temple time and focus, causing us to miss out on what’s important?
We have the freedom of choice to clear our temple.
THE POWER OF ONE
One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream,
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald Spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul,
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it’s up to you!
Fr Terry Bowman MSC
St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church Blackburn
Reprinted with permission.
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