Liturgical readings are available here.
Prophet Ezechiel talks to what is left of the nation: people dispersed in the exile. Some of them already feel comfortable with the new life-situation, some desperate hopeless about returning back home, some already without any sense of national identity. He presents a plan of return:
- The nation is restored from its two halves: I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel… Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.
- One king is established: My servant David shall be prince over them.
- Covenant is promised: I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant.
- Sanctuary among the people: My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
While people dream of a return to those old good times, Ezekiel is a man of vision, man of God, man who prepares for the future. History must continue and nothing will be as before.
The initiative will always remain with God. He will perform everything. And was not that the case in the past as well? Yes, God acts, but he expects our answer. Not because he would not be powerful enough, but because he respects our freedom.
- He can establish unity of humankind, but it will only be visible I accept my neighbor as my brother.
- He can impose rules, the covenant only makes sense if it is accepted and lived by people.
- He can build his dwelling in temples, but he much more expects human heart to be sanctuary where he can live.
Restoration never means return, but always advancing forward, changing lives and changing world.