The valley of dry bones was a symbol of Israel in exile. God promised not only that he could create a vast army out of these dry bones and bring them back to life with a new spirit, but that he also desired to do it. Surely God who created everything out of nothing would have no difficulty accomplishing this seemingly impossible task. Jesus has told us in Tuesday’s gospel reading that all things are possible for God.
And God’s desire to pour a new spirit into dead and dry things and bring them back to life continues in Jesus. When a scholar of the law asked him what is the greatest commandment, Jesus invited him and us to return to basics where God desires to draw us into an intimate encounter and offer us a share in his very life. All the peripheral laws that sprung up like mushrooms around the original 10 commandments were Israel’s attempt to apply God’s will and purpose to daily life. But these laws became more important than God’s will and purpose, turning God’s people into dead and dry literal observers of written laws. Jesus points us to God’s desire for an intimate encounter with him that God might share his life with us. God’s Law (a better translation of “Torah” is “instruction”) is meant to give life and not suck life out of us.
We are naturally attracted to people who are joyful, enthusiastic, and purposeful about life and life’s adventures. If we who claim to be Jesus’ disciples do not attract others, it might be that we have lost our joy, our enthusiasm, and our purpose. We need an infusion of new spirit, God’s spirit, to encounter God in Word and Sacrament, to fuel our evangelization and mission of charity, and to motivate our daily Christian living. The choice is ours. Dry bones or new spirit?
This mass was offered for the repose of +Gertrude Hughes.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020