Every day’s news is crowded with stories of crooked leaders and with the suffering of thousands of innocents. It leads us to expect mankind to rot away, but that won’t happen. What will keep us going is a down-pouring of God’s graces that prompt men and women to do the right things.
The first reading came from a time that could not have been more bleak. The army of Babylon had flattened Jerusalem, carrying off its citizens as slaves. Ezekiel was one of those citizens, but his experience of God’s faithfulness kept him upbeat. He was sure that God would restore Jerusalem, he even foresaw a reuniting of the long-divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
The situation for Jesus in the Gospel was even more bleak. He foresaw a second flattening of Jerusalem. He foresaw his own shameful execution, but he was just as certain of the great outpouring of the Father’s graces on his followers after his resurrection.
In Jerusalem as the crowds gathered in to celebrate the Passover all the talk was about Jesus and about rumors that his enemies were preparing to do away with him. It had all the people asking, “What do you think? Will he come to the feast anyway?" To that i add, "Would he trust his existence to God’s Providence?" He would.
When I am faced with bleak outcomes I think about a day I was whisked over icy mountain roads in Korea. Father Leo Clarke was the worst driver I’ve ever known. He was sending Korean army trucks careening into the ditches, and he was singing our way around blind corners. My fear was like death itself, and I was looking for an escape. What I did, was I started talking to myself. I said, “If we fly off the next high drop, as seems likely, I’ll either wake up in a hospital or in Purgatory. I can manage either. I’m in the state of grace. Yes. God will help me accept what ever is coming.”With that I had my one and only true religious moment. I found myself relaxing in God’s care.