Prequel 2 to Roc Homily – Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time 2016

A second reflection…

Old Man praying

Dennis Hamm, SJ made this connection come alive for me in his masterful book, Building Our House on Rock: The Sermon on the Mount as Jesus’ Vision for Our Lives as Told by Matthew and Luke.  When he looked at the link between the Greek word, hagiazo (“to hallow, make holy”) and its use in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) he found this in Ezekiel 36 that helps us get at the meaning of that phrase, “hallowed be thy name.”

Here is Ezekiel 36:22f – What do you expect to happen after God has the prophet address the nation in this way?

Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.  I will show the holiness of my great name (hagiazo), which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy (hagiazo) through you before their eyes.

It sounds like it’s smiting time again, doesn’t it. Here’s what follows, though:

For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 

Sounds to me like the disciple’s prayer asks God to “complete what you have promised!”  In other words, “hallowed be thy name.” This is important because it asks only one thing, to conform us to Christ, make us other Christs, alter Christi!

I see this as the prayer of the follower of Christ who has one desire, one request – to follow Christ more nearly each day.  And the other petitions seem to support this singular vector.

I’ll post the audio version when it comes available.  Blessings! –roc,sj

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