Ezekiel 37: The Valley of the Dry Bones

Homily for Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time | Please click here for the readings.

“The Vision of The Valley of The Dry Bones”. Gustave Dore

This reading from Ezekiel 37 is one of the passages of Scripture that I find absolutely fascinating and I hadn’t really paid attention to this much until a few years ago when a Christian recording artist, Lauren Daigle, introduced a new song called “Come Alive” that recounted this passage and portrayed in kind of a new light. As I listened to the song more, I began to dive more into this Scripture. Eventually, it led me to a moment of reflection on the nature of God that Ezekiel 37 presents, specifically how He so desires for all of us, as His children, to come alive in our faith.

How many times throughout our lives have we purposefully turned away from God in some capacity? All of us have had moments where we have deliberately done something that we knew was not part of God’s will. Every person in this Church is a sinner in need of God’s grace. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be here. But I think that goes to show us exactly what this passage captures about who God is. He doesn’t want us to be stuck in our sins. He wants us instead to return to Him, to come alive in our faith, encouraged to continue pushing forward and persevering in our quest for holiness. And praise God that many of us have had those moments where we know that God is calling us to Him despite the challenges and struggles that we face. We have all fallen in some respects but we’re here and we keep coming back to the Lord because we have been the recipients of His grace. He is the one who has breathed new life into our dry bones at times.

Because we have been on the receiving end of that grace, I think Ezekiel 37 also presents us with an aspect of who we are called to be as well. Notice that the Lord is telling Ezekiel to prophesy and to command that the dry bones come alive. We are called to do the same. Each one of us, by our very baptisms, has been given the gifts of the Spirit and, as a result of that, we, too, can prophesy and speak the words of God into a situation. We can call down the Spirit of God onto those situations – maybe that takes place by praying with or over other people, asking the Lord to bring about healing in someone else’s life, offering others a word of encouragement – whatever it is. How many of us take that aspect of our Christian mission seriously? But we can’t do that if we first don’t have a relationship with the Father…we can’t do that if our dry bones have not first come back to life. In what ways are our bones still dry?

Let’s beg God today for that grace…that our bones may come fully alive, that we may be totally renewed and reinvigorated in our faith so that we can then go out and, like Ezekiel, prophesy and command that the dry bones of those in our world may also come alive. Imagine what our world would look like if that happened today. It can. But it starts with us.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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