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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel was born around 623, during the reign of Josiah. He became a priest and was exiled to Babylon, where he made a series of prophecies. He prophesied against the unfaithfulness of Judah,  against foreign nations and lastly the hope and salvation for Israel. The book may not have actually been written by the prophet but was a gathering of his predictions, compiled by the Great Assembly (a gathering of leaders to give leadership on spiritual matters). Ezekiel often used colourful imagery, such as the four creatures (Ezekiel 1), the Valley of the Bones (37:1-15) and the water flowing from the Temple (47:1-13). Today’s reading is a message of hope amidst the chaos and destruction of Judah: God is promising new growth and shelter. Interestingly enough, he talks about every kind of bird living beneath the shadow of the cedar, suggesting that all peoples belong to God, not just the Jews.

Our Lord takes up the theme in the gospel, pointing out that while we sleep a seed is sprouting. This is a comforting thought, in a world where one can wonder where God is, where there is so much violence and hatred. However God does not do things in the way in which we think he should. Invariably we find his ways are so much better than ours. Surely the gospel message is to be patient and wait for the new green shoots to appear. Good will always triumph over evil.