Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary time

(Ezekiel 1:2-5.24-28c; Matthew 17:22-27)

Every other summer the Church presents a healthy selection of readings from the prophets of Israel in weekday masses.  Some may wonder why the Church bothers with these ancient authors.  For centuries the answer was because the prophets foretell the coming of Christ.  But since the Vatican renewal, the prophets and, indeed, the entire Old Testament are read with a wider scope.

In today’s reading the prophet Ezekiel tells of his call to proclaim the word of God.  He finds himself in Babylonia as an exile.  The heavens roar with thunder, and the lightning gives way to a vision of glory. God appears in human form.  The scene is reminiscent of a famous definition of God as mysterium tremendum et fascinans (fearful and fascinating mystery).

God calls us out of ourselves and our petty concerns to serve Him.  The experience can be frightening. It means letting go of at least a modicum of peace.  But following the Lord’s directive, we will find greater happiness.  He will lead us to a life transcending our dreams.