Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A New Experiment: Ezekiel 22

This morning, I first read:

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominable deeds. You shall say, Thus says the Lord GOD: A city that sheds blood in the midst of her, that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and defiled by the idols which you have made; and you have brought your day near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mocking to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you infamous one, full of tumult. "Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. You have despised my holy things, and profaned my sabbaths. There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and men in you who eat upon the mountains; men commit lewdness in your midst. In you men uncover their fathers' nakedness; in you they humble women who are unclean in their impurity. One commits abomination with his neighbor's wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you defiles his sister, his father's daughter. In you men take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and increase and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; and you have forgotten me, says the Lord GOD. "Behold, therefore, I strike my hands together at the dishonest gain which you have made, and at the blood which has been in the midst of you. Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your filthiness out of you. And I shall be profaned through you in the sight of the nations; and you shall know that I am the LORD."

My eyes focused on the words, "bloody city," and I thought, 'abortion'! Then I read the New Jerome Biblical Commentary: "sheds blood: This accents the violence committed against others by the powerful, which will lead to all the other offenses listed in the following verses."

Ezekiel 22 continues at verse 23:

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed, or rained upon in the day of indignation. Her princes in the midst of her are like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her. Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, `Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without redress. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their way have I requited upon their heads, says the Lord GOD."

In our time, we tend to focus on one or two issues often because we can't take in all the information that comes our way. It's important to remember that the five Catholic non-negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning & any attempts to redefine marriage, are the minimum from the Church's social teaching to which we must assent in order to be in communion w/ the Church. But, they are not the limit of those crimes that cry out to God for vengeance. In fact, another crime that cries out to God is violence on the part of those in power against those being governed, those over whom one has power: it's as if Ezekiel 22 is a foreshadowing of the servant role that government is supposed to exercise.

At least 500 longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview about 4:30 a.m., broke out windows in the guard shack and — as longshoremen wielding baseball bats and crowbars held six guards hostage — others cut brakelines on box cars and dumped grain, according to Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

"We're not surprised," Duscha said. "A lot of the protesters were telling us this in only the start."

We live in a time when there have been calls for violence against members of the tea party & against those who don't agree w/ the people in power. Not long ago, the tea party was accused of using violent rhetoric. Now, those in power & those who feel they have the protection of the powerful (such as some union leaders) are calling out for violence against those who disagree w/ them.* And, some are responding to those calls (the article cited is only one instance; there are others).

Perhaps they don't know that their sins cry out to God. Natural law precludes taking a few men hostage while vandalizing & destroying the property of those with whom one disagrees. Perhaps they don't have any understanding of natural law. Perhaps they don't know the difference between right & wrong. We ought not be surprised, if one can kill a baby in his mother's womb, then it's easy to rationalize engaging in violence against adults & private property. We must pray for those who call others to violence & for those who engage in acts of violence. We must engage in acts of penance on their behalf because they are sorely in need of a change of heart.

Things changed with Christ. We became empowered to suffer on behalf of others, just as He did. We can "stand in the breach." There are many in our country who desperately need Christ's love & peace. Please, please, please, offer up prayers & sacrifices on behalf of all who use violence against the weak: on behalf of those who have & provide abortions & on behalf of those who call out for violence & lawlessness.

* I must be honest, a fringe group of persons involved w/ the Tea Party speaks of violence. Once in awhile, I visit their blogs & remind them that violence is not to be countenanced. Others make regular visits & engage such foolish people in long debates. I salute them but haven't the energy to wage such battles regularly.

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