The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, who have ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. Therefore, mortal, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight; you shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.
You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile; and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who go into exile. Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry the baggage through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage on your shoulder, and carry it out in the dark; you shall cover your face, so that you may not see the land; for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.
I did just as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands; I brought it out in the dark, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight. In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, “What are you doing?” Say to them, “Thus says the Lord God: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel in it.”
Say, “I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity.” And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, and shall go out; he shall dig through the wall and carry it through; he shall cover his face, so that he may not see the land with his eyes.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
So often lately, I wake and live in such pained and hurting days. Anger surrounds us in words and actions; it is hard to believe we are all loved in God’s eyes. Indeed, as the first reading notes, we live in a most rebellious house, with eyes blinded by fear, ears deaf to heartache amidst groans.
My challenge, in my own rebellious house, is to love well and fully as a person of grace and spirit. My spiritual watershed is to love every other person in the face of so much rancor and heartache. Somedays, exercising forgiveness seventy times seven times only takes my soul to lunchtime. On those days, I challenge myself to remember how often God’s unconditional love has opened the door to forgiveness and rebuilt covenant for me. Repeatedly, in the face of anger and rancor, I stretch to offer love and forgiveness, as God has done for me.
—Mary Burke-Petersonis a parishioner at St. Nicholas Church, Evanston, an active volunteer in the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and a graduate student at Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University.
Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.
I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.
Guide my life and help me to do your will. Amen.
—A Healing Ministries prayer