Talk about prophecy! Talk about Truth! We could insert the reading from Ezekiel into our present day with very little editing, let me paraphrase. ‘Never again shall America be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two ideologies. No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols (money, power, feelings placed above the needs of other…), their abominations (infanticide, parricide, feticide, euthanasia…) and all their transgression (licentiousness, greed, gluttony, pride…). I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy (rejection of the faith and teachings of the Church founded by Christ, rejection of God, rejection of objective morality…).’ Wow! I guess our human nature haven’t changed since Ezekiel’s time.
Thankfully, what has changed, is our relationship to God. God has kept His promise to restore us through David’s line in a new covenant. He redeemed us from the hand of our conquerors (sin), turned our mourning into joy (as we conform ourselves to Him), and has made what was done in evil (Christ’s crucifixion) into good, our salvation! Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Caiaphas, gathering the dispersed children of God into one. That process of gathering the faith filled followers of God, continues today as we continue to spread His word of salvation, joy, and peace for those in His Kingdom. The Kingdom that draws near in the Incarnate Word and is announced in the Gospel, remains present in the Eucharist as the Holy Spirit forms His Holy people, as we wait in joyful expectation when the Kingdom is handed over to the Father.
“Terror on every side! Let us denounce him!” whispers our enemies as we call on God to shame them and ask that we may witness the vengeance the Lord takes on them. We call on the Lord for protection from our enemies in both the 1st reading and the Psalm.
Asking God for protection from our enemies is one thing, asking Him that we witness the Lord’s vengeance on them seems unchristian and disturbing, especially when we acknowledge who our enemies are: Satan, the world, and ourselves. Yes, ourselves. We are the primary drivers of sinful behavior in our own lives and our own worst enemy. That whispering in our heads encouraging us to sin – that’s us! Do we truly want to witness the vengeance the Lord takes on our enemies – including us?
However, if we view vengeance as proper justice taken for sinful behavior, perhaps it becomes clearer. God became man as Jesus makes clear in today’s Gospel. Christ confirms that He is the Son of God and declares “the Father is in me, and I am in the Father”. The Jews at the time certainly had a clear understanding that Jesus claimed divinity! We, and those in today’s readings, call for vengeance, but do we truly want to witness the Lord’s justice?
Well, what if I told you we already have, and continue to, witness God’s justice! We witness and memorialize the Lord’s justice at each and every Mass in the sacrifice of the Eucharist! Jesus in His humanity generously took on all our sins, and the sins of our enemies, in His passion and resurrection!!! In this light, when we declare that we want to witness the Lord’s justice on our enemies, it is certainly not unchristian, in fact, it is the MOST Christian thing we do as we celebrate the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith as Christians! And the sacrifice of the Mass is our highest form of worship! Let us thank the Lord for our witness to His great Love in taking on our sins and rendering His right Justice for all to see!