Saturday of week 20 of Ordinary Time – First Reading


Commentary on Ezek 43:1-7

This is our last reading from Ezekiel and also brings to an end our series of readings from the prophets which we have been following since Week 13. On Monday (Week 21) we will return to reading the New Testament.

The message is filled with hope as it describes how God comes back to his Temple after the Exile. It represents the high point of this whole section of Ezekiel. It was a moment for which the Temple had been prepared.

The glory of God is seen approaching from the east. It was from this direction that the prophet had seen God leave his city. In the book of Ezekiel God’s glory is always active. The experience was both heard (“like the roar of rushing waters”) and seen (“the land was radiant with his glory”). God’s visible glory is always described as being very bright. We remember the brightness surround the birth of Jesus in Luke as the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest!”

It reminds Ezekiel, too, of the vision he had seen when Yahweh came to destroy the city (under the agency of Nebuchadnezzar).

As God in his glory enters the city from the east, Ezekiel is lifted up by the Spirit and brought to the inner court of the Temple. With God being nearer, the function of the guiding angel is taken over by the Spirit of God. Ezekiel is transported into the inner court but not into the temple.

And now the Temple is filled with the glory of the Lord as it was when consecrated by Solomon (1 Kings 8:11). Then “Someone” is heard speaking to Ezekiel from the Temple. This “Someone” is Yahweh but out of reverence not named here, preserving an air of awe and mystery.

Yahweh addresses his prophet: “This is the dais of my throne, the step on which I rest my feet. I shall live here among the sons of Israel for ever.” Once again, the covenant promise is renewed. But it is never God who breaks it. His compassion and love are indicated by his readiness to renew it again and again. The final renewal will be the New Covenant made through God’s own Son, pouring out his blood in sacrifice for love of us all.

The glory of the Lord is always ready to enter our lives and make our hearts the temple of his presence. Is he there now? Is he palpably present in our community? Or have we driven him away? But we know that, no matter how often we fall, he still stands at the door and knocks. Will I welcome him in – not just for now but for always?

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