Daily Reflection for Friday, August 21, 2020
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Responsorial: Psalm 107:2-9
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“He said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel! They are saying ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.’” Ezekiel 37:11
If you feel dried up, hopeless, and cut off, you’re in good company. In today’s first reading, the exiled Israelites are described as “a valley of dried bones scattered in every direction.”
The whole world has felt as barren and haunting as Ezekiel’s vision in the valley. “Dry bones” have piled up at every turn, in the form of isolation and restrictions during the pandemic and fear and uncertainty about what will happen next.
But if I imagine placing my worries on scattered piles of bones, I hear the rattling sound of “bone joining bone” where God is beginning to bring me back to life.
Here are a few murmurs of hope I heard as I prayed in my valley:
• My oldest daughter started college and is flourishing. She missed so many milestones and celebrations this spring, but we spent countless unexpected hours of quiet, ordinary time together—the kind of slowed-down time we hadn’t shared since she was an infant. Miraculously, she seemed to transform as much in those 5 months as she did in her first 5 months of life.
• Our other children started virtual school and it’s going well! Spring was a chaotic, disorganized nightmare, but their wonderful teachers spent the summer preparing for this new way of learning, and the kids are primed to soak it up.
• For 120+ consecutive days, my grandfather has walked approximately 350 laps around a small path he cleared in his basement to get at least 11,000 steps per day. He is my hero.
• There has been some promising news about herd immunity and the use of inexpensive, rapid testing that could slow the spread of the virus.
It will take time for us to re-form after this time in the valley. After we begin to feel the first rumblings of new life, we must wait expectantly for the breath of the Holy Spirit to bring us to fullness. This will require adjustment and reconciliation. Fr. Carroll Stuhlmueller offers a prayer to guide us through this new way of being:
“God, at times [you] must cut down our hopes which were genuine, true, and helpful, in order to lead those same hopes to a fulfillment far beyond our dreams. We should never try to limit you even by our hopes and prophecies … Create a new spirit in us that we live as energetically and as lovingly as you respond to life. May we follow your example in hearing the cry of the hungry and thirsty.”
May God’s Peace Be With You,