Friday 14 August 2020

About Today Readings

St Maximilian Kolbe

Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63 / 16:59-63. You have turned from your anger to comfort me – Isaiah 12:2-6. Matthew 19:3-12.

Yet I will remember my covenant with you

Today’s passage from Ezekiel may strike our ears uncomfortably with its patriarchal language and imagery of power, submission and violence.

God sees a female baby (symbolising the people of Israel), discarded and abandoned in its own blood. God passes by and says ‘Live’. God passes by again some years later, and pledges himself to her, enters into a covenant with her, ‘and you became mine’. God then bathes her and anoints her, clothes her, and adorns her with ornaments. But then we hear that she ‘trusted in [her] beauty, and played the whore’.

Despite the violence contained in this chapter, it has survived, in part no doubt because of the universal themes of hope, despair, suffering, betrayal, abandonment, and grace. God nonetheless remembers the covenant made with the people of Israel, and establishes an everlasting covenant, with a promise of hope and protection. But how do we respond to such gendered violence in the text? And more importantly, how do we respond to gendered violence in our communities, including our church communities? How do we fulfil our part in God’s covenant, and how do we offer hope and protection to those affected by violence in our midst?

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