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36, 26: Natural hearts: God promises to make the people’s love for him alive again. He will change them. He will destroy the roots of their stubbornness and pride. He will give them a new desire to love and serve him.


36, 27: My Spirit: There will be a new closeness between God and his people. This closeness will make them see their lives from God’s point of view. God’s Spirit will lead them to love and to serve with great joy.


Ezekiel 36: 24-28


24 For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse your from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hears and giving you natural hearts. 27 I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. 28 You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.


REFLECTION:


The people to whom Ezekiel spoke lived in a foreign country as punishment for their sins and the sins of the whole nation. Ezekiel told them of God’s promise to send blessings. Not only will they return to their homeland but God will also live in closer union with them. He will give them his own Spirit. This gift will change the people in a very deep way. They will have a deep personal knowledge of God and what he wants them to do. The message delivered by Ezekiel came true at Pentecost. The Father and the Son sent the Spirit to be with the Apostles. This gift of the Spirit continues in the Church. In the sacrament of Confirmation the Spirit comes to the believer with many gifts which show forth God’s presence and help to build up the new people of God.


STUDY QUESTIONS: (Limit response to one page per question). How does Ezekiel’s message come true today? Why is confirmation the sacrament of Christian maturity? Why is the Spirit the most important gift to us?


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