In recent times there has been an upsurge in trauma studies and this comes as no surprise given the many stresses, strains, and calamities that people experience be they natural disasters due to global warming, pandemics, international conflicts, sickness or death. Given that the history of the people of Israel was often marked by trauma at a national and personal level many studies have focussed on the prophet Ezekiel. He wrote in a disastrous time when Israel was in exile. Their land had been stripped from them, the Temple destroyed, and their king humiliated. They felt abandoned and punished by God – like dry bones scattered and crushed. In the midst of all this Ezekiel had a vision of these dry bones coming back to life and hope returning. The resilience that was needed for them to begin in exile again came from this life-giving vision.
In the Gospel today Jesus gives us a vision of how the dry bones of our lives and the world can be restored and flourish once more. The vision is simple, profound, and demanding – learning to love God and our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves. Love is, and always was the only power that will heal wounds, put flesh on dry bones, and bring us into the fullness of life.
Fr. Chris CP lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.