Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent - 2012
(Pompeo Batoni -1773)
"One does not fall in love; one grows into love,
and love grows in him."
(Dr. Karl Menniger)
The first reading for today's liturgy comes from the Book of Ezechiel. Reading through the verses slowly two or three times is a worthwhile Saturday exercise. Buried within the words of Yahweh to Ezechiel is a promise that is reiterated many times in the Old Testament. In essence it is what is depicted by the artist's feelings in The Return of the Prodigal Son.
Yahweh promised time and again that he would be our God and we would be his people. It is a message also contained in the teachings of Jesus Christ. So, as we stand at the threshold of Holy Week, perhaps we could take some time today and tomorrow to use the message in the Ezechiel reading as an opportunity to have one of those conversations with God that we may have wanted but have been too busy or too distracted to initiate.
Yahweh speaks as the father must have spoken to his returned son ... no more division between us. I am your father and you are my son for whom your past errors have made me love you all the more. Let me show you that what divided you from me and your brother is past history. Remember in you there is me and in me there is you, my son. As Yahweh spoke to Ezechiel: "I will deliver them from their apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God.... I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them.... I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
As the truly prodigal father wraps his penitent son in his arms, so too does God pull us to himself each and every day. Again, use these words of Ezechiel to engage God in a heartfelt conversation of gratitude and awareness for the never-ending love of God for each of us. It is the love that is manifest in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for you and me. These words are clearly an opportunity for "one to grows into love and (L)ove grows in him."