- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for August 21, 2020

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Mathew 22: 34-40

“I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land” (Ezek.37:14). No power on earth can restore dry bones to life. However, there is a power greater than us that can restore them to life. As I pondered the field of dry bones, I was reminded of the struggles faced by people in addiction. Today’s reading provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the first three steps in the Big Book.

You recall how Ezekiel walked among the bones and saw how dry they were. The First Step of sobriety: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol (or any addictive behavior) and that our lives had become unmanageable. To use the prophet’s words: “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” In the company of the prophet we walk among the bones and realize that there is nothing we can do to bring them back to life.

The dialogue between God and the prophet is interesting. “Son of man, can these bones come to life?” I answered, “Lord God, you alone know that.” This brings us to the second step of sobriety: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Many people come to this step by default. They have tried everything else and nothing worked, so what have they to lose. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

Because we have come to believe that “the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world” (1Jn. 4:4), we can proceed to the third step: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. There are times in our lives when we simply need to begin anew. These times manifest themselves in a pang of hunger and thirst after God. Because God’s love is nothing but generosity, he fills us with His abundant grace. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that God spoke over those dry bones. “See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life” (Ezek. 37:5).

Third Step Prayer
God, I offer myself to You – to build with me and to do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your Power, your Love, and your Way of Life. May I do your will always.