SCRIPTURE (Ezekiel 37:21-28)
Thus, says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all.
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.
No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children's children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.
I’m no stranger to Reconciliation. I’ve screwed up more times than I can count and find myself back in the confessional, my heart pounding as I confess my sins to a priest and my Lord. Growing up a Catholic, I’ve always been a little afraid of Reconciliation. The act of speaking my sins aloud in order to have them forgiven makes me uncomfortable. But, the weightless feeling that comes at the end of Confession is what makes it worth it. The feeling of knowing that God has forgiven me and that I have been cleansed of my sins makes the humbling act of Reconciliation worth it.
Today’s first reading reminds us that we have a merciful Father. God wants us to be the best people we can so that we can be with Him. He understands when we mess up and make mistakes and is waiting for us with opens arms to ask for forgiveness and come back to Him. In the reading, God says that when we are with Him we are caught up with our earthly desires, He says, “I will deliver them from all of their sins.” Not only that, but He wants us to live in peace and harmony with each other and He will make an everlasting covenant of peace with us. He tells us that He will bring us together as one nation, but this nation can only be made if we are open to it.
Our world is full of division. There is division between countries and races, between religious groups and political parties, between classmates and co-workers. If we truly want to mend the gaps in our society, we must be open to the Lord’s help. He wants us to live in harmony with each other and tells us that, through Him, we can live in unity, but people, myself included, aren’t comfortable with the idea of putting our full trust in Him.
When we put our full trust in God, amazing things happen. We are able to do things we never thought we could do and say things we never thought we would have the courage to say. Through God, life-changing relationships are formed and fixed. God has the power to change our lives if we only open ourselves to Him and continue to come back to Him when we have made mistakes and need forgiveness.
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House, a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20, will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
- Where is there division in your life?
- What can you do to mend that division?
- How have you turned away from God and gotten caught up with your earthly desires?
In our current society it is hard to spend time alone without emails to respond to or work that has to be finished. Today, I challenge you to put your phone, computer, work, etc. in a different room and spend five minutes in prayer with God. Tell Him about your day, ask Him for guidance or simply just be with Him.
Kate Frediani is a junior at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, WI. She is involved in campus ministry and is currently in the process of getting Confirmed.