29. THE DRY BONES. Could these bones revive?

Could these bones revive?

1 The vision that Ezekiel contemplates is accurate: “The hand of Yahweh was upon me. He brought me out and led me in spirit to the middle of the valley which was full of bones” (Ez 37, 1) This is the way things are, God´s people is a field of dry bones, a common grave that remains uncover: “Son of man, these bones are all Israel. They keep saying: ‘Our bones are dry, hope has gone´” (37, 11). The question is alive and present: Are now these bones the Church, the Churches?, could these bones revive?

2. The people is in the exile, a long exile lasting sixty (597 – 538 b. C.), seventy years (Jr 29, 10). Ezekiel, a priest who becomes prophet, finds himself in a country belonging to the Caldeans, beside river Kebar, among the exiled (1, 1). Year 592 is current. The exile is the result of a degeneration of which there is no conscience. The desecration of the name of God contaminate and disperses the people. The nations adopt a false idea about God. (36, 23). It is believed that the holy city can not succumb and that the exile will last little time. But, it will not be so, says Ezekiel. The situation is not interim

3. Ezekiel receives the word of the Lord: “Listen then, son of man, to what I say and don’t be a rebel among rebels. Open your mouth and take in what I’m about to say.” I looked and saw a hand stretched out in front of me holding a scroll. 10 He unrolled it before me; on both sides were written lamentations, groanings and woes.” (2, 8 – 10). Ezekiel devours the book. It is full of denounces and advises, but for him the taste is “sweet like honey” (3, 3).

4. The prophet contemplates in a vision the “great abomination” that take place in the temple (8, 6). It should be the house of the Lord, but it has become the house of idolatry, prostitution and violence: “Woe, for all the abominations of the house of Israel!” (6, 1), account will be requested for his behaviour (7, 4), “this land is full of violence” (7, 23). And besides that they go saying: “The Lord does not see it” (9, 9; Ps 94). Ezekiel makes several symbolic actions. For instance, the gesture of the exiled (12, 4 – 5): there will be a second siege and a second deportation. A man dressed on line, with a scribe’s wallet in his waist, goes across the city and marks a cross in his forehead to all those who moan and cry due to the abominations that take place in it (9, 3 – 4).

5. Year 586. The chaldean  army captures Jerusalem. The city is a “pot placed on the fire”, as Ezekiel announced (24, 3). The temple is burnt. The exile extends for indefinite time. The confusion is total. A fugitive from Jerusalem gives him the news: “The city has been captured”. Ezekiel raises his voice (33, 21 – 22) and denounces the main responsible of the disaster: the leaders of Israel are “bad shepherds”. Due to this, the Lord says: “I shall save the flock from their mouths and no longer shall it be food for them” (34, 10), “I will put one shepherd who will tend them (34, 23), a “good shepherd”, the log of Judah and the log of Joseph will join one of the other so that they will form “a unique log” and they will be “a unique thing” in his hand (37, 17)

6. The prophet also proclaims the judgement of the nations. They fill up themselves with pride, they believed themselves the god of this world. The judgement of the nations (25 – 32) is only a facet of a deeper fight, the fight against the evil power itself, that conceives and executes wicked plans: “On that day thoughts will come to your mind and you will plan an evil scheme saying: ‘I will go up against unprotected towns, against peaceful people living in safety, all of them living without walls, bars or gates. I will plunder and loot; I will attack the land that is inhabited again.” (38, 10 – 12). Besides, merchants and traders are waiting. They will say: “Have you come to plunder? Is it to loot that you have assembled such an army?’ And they will come with silver and gold, to take away the livestock and to buy your enormous booty.” (38, 13)  

7. And the new thing? Where is the new thing? Only the Lord can make it to be born. Only the spirit of God can revive what is dead. Israel’s people, in the exile, is a field of dry bones: “Could those bones revive?” (37,3). They have to listen God´s word (37, 4). The spirit has to come, from every cardinal point, from the four winds (37, 9), so that the people of God come back to his land, to his place, to his home. Or , what is the same, come out of the tomb, resurrect, live. Says the Lord: “I will make you to come out of your tombs, my people, and I will take you back again to the land of Israel” (37, 12)

8. Then the return song will be sung: “When the Lord changed the luck of Zion, we were like those moving in a dream” (Ps 126). Then the plans of the new temple with which Ezekiel dreams will be drawn: “I saw a man who seemed to be made of bronze. He had a flax cord and a measuring rod in his hand” (40, 3). The exiled see in the renovated temple a wonderful signal of hope. The water that flows from the temple becomes a torrent that purifies everything (47, 2 – 12)

9. Jesus manifests to his disciples the name of God (Jn 17, 6), “he is not a God of dead, but of those alive” (Lk 20, 38), in the name of God he purifies the temple (Jn 2, 13 -22), he announces the life that gains to the death: “I am the resurrection. That who believes in me, even if he dies, he will live” (Jn 11, 25), “the dead resurrect” (Mt 11, 5). His message is of religious type, but it has political consequences. Jesus confronts the religious system, symbolized in the temple (Mk 11, 17), dominated by a priestly hierarchy, that (depending on the power of the roman occupation) exerts its power together with the influential groups: ““The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sat on the seat of Moses”, they are “like whitewashed tombs beautiful in appearance, but inside there are only dead bones and uncleanness.” (Mt 23, 2 – 27)

10. Present applications. Albino Luciani wrote his doctoral thesis about Antonio Rosmini (1797 – 1855), an Italian priest whose most important book, “The five ulcers of the Saint Church”, was initiated in 1832 and finished the next year, but that for fifteen years he locked it in a drawer, since “the times did not look propitious”. It was Austrian emperor, Joseph II, the one who tied the Church and the one who was denounced by the Italian thinker.  And although Gregory XVI had valued his qualities and merits, and Pius IX even thought of making him cardinal, his work was included in the Index of forbidden books for more than one hundred years. Until that, in March 1966, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith authorized its publication. With the Vatican Council II, Rosmini was restored.

11. These were the ulcers of the Church: The people is almost divided and separated of the clergy “in a worship that he does not understand”. The insufficient education of the clergy and of the people coming from the bishops: “at the beginning of the Church, the divine Scripture was the unique text of popular and ecclesiastic instruction”, “it is God who speaks in it”. The separation of the bishops, who should be  “only one thing” according to Christ´s desire, appear “enclosed in the hands of the earthly powers”, like “national pontiffs”, “salaried”, “prince´s ministers”: “they make their wars and their peaces”. The appointment of the bishops in the hands of the earthly power: “the ministers of the altar had become State ministers”, “sovereign employees”, while that in the first centuries of the Church the people participated in the election of the bishops. “the best advice, the advice less subject to machination, was precisely that of the body of believers”, “without the vote or the consent of the people, the bishop was not considered legitimate, but intruder”. The loss of sense of the ecclesiastic goods and its true function, “the communion of properties”, the properties of the Church must be administered by herself “under absolute vigilance”, “they belong to God and the poor”.

12. Antonio Rosmini, told Pope Luciani, deserves to recover officially the honour and the position that corresponds to him in the Church: “A priest who loved the Church, who suffered for the Church. A man of ample culture, of trustworthy Christian faith, a master of philosophical and moral wisdom who was clearly seeing in the ecclesial structures the evangelic and pastoral delays and failures of the Church. I want to find a moment to talk about Antonio Rosmini and his work, that I have carefully read again” (Bassotto, 131). Certainly, his vision of the Church is great, a Church needed of a deep renovation. In this sense, Rosmini´s message penetrated very deeply in Pope Luciani. At the end, the seed launched does not die without giving its fruit. It was said by Rosmini with words from prophet Isaiah: “God´s word does not come back idle”.

13. On the occasion of  the last trip to Spain of John Paul II, the 3rd and 4th may 2003, the Association for the Recover of the Historic Memory regrets the opportunity lost by the Pope. The canonization of the priest Pedro Poveda, assassinated on July the 28th 1936, “would had been the opportunity for the Church to forgive and to ask forgiveness for the collaboration she had with the franquist dictatorship, and to have acknowledged so to the thousands of families still looking for their beloved ones”. It is a scandal. The Church continues without revising her position during the Civil War.

14. John Paul II beatification arouse in many, believers and not believers, perplexity and scandal. Account was asked to Pope Wojtyla in the case of John Paul I and about other Vatican enigmas. He did not answer. Enclosed in an absolute and sovereign State, he did not manifest true will to clear up the facts, not even those behind the attempt that could cost him the life. His alliance with the American politic of Ronald Reagan is a clear example of the temptation of power to be avoided by Jesus´ disciples. The victims of the sexual abuses of Marcial Maciel, one of the biggest paedophiles in history, have seen as Pope Wojtyla protected him to the end. We contemplate that papal apogee is an incompatible idolatry with the Gospel (papism), an obstacle in the way to unity (ecumenical problem) and a setback stone (scandal) in the way to the ecclesial renovation.

* Dialogue: about the dry bones
- these bones are now the Church, the Churches
- could those bones revive?
- present applications

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