Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ezekiel 16:1-15.60.63; Matthew 19:3-12)
“As for Marilyn, who can match her?” said one Hollywood star many years ago about Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps no other person, with possible exception of Elvis Presley, has attracted so much attention in American popular culture than Ms. Monroe. She certainly was beautiful, but nevertheless she was a tragic figure leaving in her wake multiple husbands and lovers. Reading the passage from the prophet Ezekiel in today’s mass, one may think of Marilyn Monroe as an image for Israel.
The passage says of Israel, “You were captivated by your own beauty, you used your renown to make yourself a harlot, and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by …” But the Lord does not abandon Israel. Rather despite her sins, He pledges forgiveness and rehabilitation. Later on in the story, God promises to cleanse Israel of its impurities and to replace her stony heart with one of flesh (Ez 36:25-26).
The prophecy is fulfilled with Jesus. He calls his Church from the remnant of Israel and teaches her his ways. He sets her in motion with his death and resurrection. Sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the New Israel will lead the world in the quest for justice. As members of this redeemed reality, we strive to carry out the mission by our care for all.