I wonder if Ezekiel ever felt that he was the riddle of the world. Here he is going about his business when suddenly the spirit of God enters his life and everything changes. God gives him the commission of going to the Israelites and challenging them to reform because they have turned away from God’s ways. Ezekiel has to face a people who are obstinate and call them to repentance. Did Ezekiel feel the glory and power of God?
I wonder if St. Paul experienced being a creature created to both rise and fall. Two things we hear about him in today’s reading. One (the rise) is his elation and joy, the cause of which was the abundance of the revelations given to him. His inner experience of God’s grace was overwhelming. Yet the other thing we hear of Paul (the fall) is the thorn in the flesh, that factor that prevented Paul from becoming too elated. Paul saw these two parts of his life as the workings of grace. Paul’s strengths and weaknesses were kept in balance so that God’s grace might remain operative.
I wonder if Jesus, our savior and redeemer, who is the great Lord of all things and the sole judge of truth, tasted deeply the riddle of the world. He knew the glory of his Father’s power and tasted the depth of the cross. Jesus plunged deep down into the human condition and took our humanity back with him into his risen life.
Ezekiel, Paul and Jesus walked this earth as pilgrims and searchers. They knew life’s joys and sorrows, its clarities and confusions, its power and weaknesses. But at the center of their existence was the mystery of a God who sent his only son to help us deal with the riddle of the world.
These prophets offer us hope that God’s reign might govern our individual minds and hearts as well as that of countries and nations. It is hope based on faith and the conviction that God’s redeeming love is always available.
William James, the great American philosopher, reminds us in no uncertain terms: “We have no right to speak of human crocodiles and boa-constrictors as fixedly incurable beings. We know not the complexities of personality, the smoldering emotional fires, the other facets of the character-polyhedron, the resources of the subliminal regions.”
We need to hold hands as we journey together towards God’s kingdom.
Questions for reflection
1. What is your philosophy of the human person?
2. How has God called you to your prophetic role?
3. Does God love every inch of who we are?
Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.