Day 231: The Valley of Dry Bones

Jeremiah 8:1-22 After concluding the condemnatory prophecy against Judah, a new prophecy began that cites further reasons for Judah’s punishment. The presence of the Law and the Temple, which both signified divine predilection, would be of no avail without a change of heart and fidelity to God’s will. The consciences of the people had become so calloused that they had lost the capacity to perceive the sinfulness of their ways.

Ezekiel 37:1-4 The exiles struggled to maintain hope of returning to Judah, while those in Judah lived in intolerable circumstances that tested their resolve. The divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel represented a chasm that seemed a long way from healing. Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones revealed God’s power to turn Israel’s defeat and destruction into an occasion of renewal and restoration. Moreover, the bones coming to life and being covered with flesh could also point to new life in Christ and the resurrection on the last day. (CCC 715)

Ch 37:10 The scene here is reminiscent of the creation narratives in Genesis in which God gives life to Adam by breathing into his nostrils (cf. Gn 2:7). The Hebrew word for “breath,” ruah, also means “spirit.” The first two chapters of Genesis describe the Word (cf. Gn 1:2) and the Spirit as the divine creative power behind creation. (CCC 703)

Ch 37:12 I will open your graves: Understandably the Church Fathers saw this passage as a prophecy of the resurrection of the dead. At the Final Judgment, the souls and bodies of everyone who ever existed will be reunited-in glory for the righteous, and in disgrace for the damned. (CCC 366)

Ch 37:15-28 The sticks represent the eventual reunification of Israel and Judah. God will bring this about as a permanent union that is integral to his plan of salvation. 

Ch 37:26-28 Covenant of peace: These final verses of the oracle comprise a messianic prophecy of the new and everlasting covenant and the coming of Christ, who will be known as the “prince of peace.” (CCC 672)

Ch 38:1-23 Chapters 38-39 involve a mythical battle between Israel and Gog, which symbolizes all the forces that battle against Israel. The passage is eschatological in that it refers to a future triumph of God over evil, and for that reason it provides an image of the Second Coming of Christ. The Book of Revelation describes Gog and Magog as “nations which are at the four corners of the earth” who will wage war on the “beloved city,” the New Jerusalem, but in the end will be vanquished by fire from Heaven and cast into Hell (cf. Rev 20:7-10)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. You are good. You are our Father. You are our Dad. We thank you so much. And God, you have made your heart known to us and you have called us back to yourself. You, who can raise the dead to life. You, who conquered death so that death does not have power to conquer us. We ask you to send that Spirit, the Spirit that came upon the dry bones as Ezekiel prophesied, the Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, the Spirit that you gave to the Apostles and you give to us, your children now. We ask for that Holy Spirit to bring us to life, especially, Lord, the broken parts of us, the dead parts of us, the parts that seem lost and without hope, the parts of us that disqualify us, or we believe that they disqualify us. Lord God, let your Holy Spirit come upon us and those parts. Bring us to life. Bring us to you. Bring us home. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”