At Mass this Morning as we listened to the first reading from the Book of Ezekiel we heard these words: “I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you. You shall be my people and I will be your God.” (Ezek 36:23-28) I love this passage and I have meditated on it many times before. However what struck me this morning is that the Prophet promises a new heart not to an individual but to the Community of the People of God, to Israel. As this promise was made in the Old Testament we can see its fulfilment in the New Testament when God sent his Son, Jesus Christ to be in the midst of his People, like the heart is in the centre of the body. As this New Divine Heart started beating, the New Promised Community started growing: Mary and Joseph were the first ones and soon more people were drawn to the relationship with Jesus establishing in this way the New Mystical Body, the Church. As I am reflecting on this passage I remember that for us Oblates this year, which is the first stage of the tree-year-preparation for the Bicentennial of the Oblate Congregation, has got its theme: A New Heart: Life in Apostolic Community. In the line of the Ezekiel’s prophesy I can see that the Holy Spirit is guiding us Oblates not to focus on our achievements over the last two hundred years. It is not about putting on a party saying: “Look, we have done so well!” instead, it is the time to focus on this New Heart which has been beating in our Holy Congregation for two hundred years. This Heart is Jesus Christ. Our Oblate Apostolic Community is simply a small version of the Church where, as promised by Ezekiel, God has placed a new heart – his only Son. As missionaries we love preaching Jesus but we also love showing Jesus through the way we live our daily life, not on our own but with our fellow Oblates. I think that it is a prophetic sign for the today’s society where people would like to “posses” Jesus just for themselves. However Christ is the New Heart for the community of followers who are joined to him like various parts of the body are joined to the heart.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest