The readings for this liturgy are all about expectations. The prophet Ezekiel and St. Matthew speak of divine expectations. They touch at times upon the heroic, as we are not asked but commanded to forgive and be reconciled, on pain of death and the fires of Gehenna. Does God ask too much?
At first glance it may seem so. However, if we read carefully, we recognize that God asks nothing without first giving us the grace of a “new heart and. . . a new spirit” and putting his own spirit within us. Secondly, God provides his own compelling example. In Ezekiel God assures us that no matter how wickedly we have offended him – whatever be the offense against life and goodness – God forgives us at once if we turn from our evil ways. Ezekiel concludes this extraordinary chapter with God’s admission, “I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner. I derive pleasure in the wicked one who repents.”
The Eucharist is first the sacrament of reconciliation. God is reconciled with all humanity. God has acted first. It is ours to respond by conversion, by setting things right.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator