Let us Lectio: I Will Take You From the Nations

by Callie Nowlin

North Texas Catholic

4/15/2019

Esmane, one of the oldest residents at Zanmi Beni (Haitian Creole for "Blessed Friends"), a home for 64 children abandoned or orphaned during the 2010 Haitian earthquake, receives the sacrament of baptism Dec. 21. (CNS photo/ Donis Tracy) 


Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter, April 20, 2019


Steps to Lectio Divina

Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.

Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.

Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.

Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.

Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
 

The Scripture

From the Seventh Reading for April 20, 2019 Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter (Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28)

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their land,
they defiled it by their conduct and deeds.
Therefore I poured out my fury upon them
because of the blood that they poured out on the ground,
and because they defiled it with idols.
I scattered them among the nations,
dispersing them over foreign lands;
according to their conduct and deeds I judged them.
But when they came among the nations wherever they came,
they served to profane my holy name,
because it was said of them: "These are the people of the LORD,
yet they had to leave their land."
So I have relented because of my holy name
which the house of Israel profaned
among the nations where they came.
Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel,
but for the sake of my holy name,
which you profaned among the nations to which you came.
I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

 

Reflection

The Liturgy of the Word is now ending, and the catechumens come ever closer to the sacrament of Baptism, closer to the long-awaited Christ. The last of the Old Testament readings of the Easter Vigil is a prophecy of the coming Christ, in which we hear a clear reminder that we were born and lived far from God, in a land of sin.

Through the sacrament of Baptism, the catechumens will soon be welcomed into the family of God, which means a complete turning away from those foreign lands and all their idols. However, this change is not a mere relocation but a movement and call to radical fidelity. “You will be my people, and I will be your God.” The impending sacraments come with the expectation that afterwards the newly initiated will live faithful to the One True God and be recognizable as His people.

In our life when we are asked questions, there is an expectation that we speak truthfully. We instinctively know that we should let our “yes mean yes” and our “no mean no” (cf. Matthew 5:37). How sincere are we when we’re asked questions before God in the liturgy? Every week we declare the Creed proclaiming our belief in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in His One Church on earth. At the Easter Vigil, these newly baptized will say this same Creed, this same profession of faith, for the first time in union with us and as an expression of their baptismal faith. Since in the liturgy and the sacraments we are approaching God, we should do so with sincerity of heart. Let us approach with humble gratitude the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — who out of His love for us did not abandon us among the nations, but rather calls us out of darkness that we may worship Him in spirit and truth.

 

Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.

 

 

 


Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Liturgy of the Word is now ending, and the catechumens come ever closer to the sacrament of Baptism, closer to the long-awaited Christ. The last of the Old Testament readings of the Easter Vigil is a prophecy of the coming Christ, in which we hear a clear reminder that we were born and lived far from God, in a land of sin.

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