…And You Will Live Again. The Prophet Ezekiel, Crisis and Hope
We are in a situation of crisis at many levels, the economy, politics, and religion. On many sides, need is being expressed for a “new anthropology” in order to find a way to go forward. The people of Israel lived a similar moment during their exile in Babylon, 2,700 years ago. Through their experience, it is possible to trace some elements essential for a rebirth today.
The exhibition looks back to the beginning of Israel’s history, in the creation, and the call of Abraham, moving forward then to dramatic moment of the exile. With the help of a film projected inside a huge desert tent, the visitor will be immersed in Ezekiel’s world, so as to see his own world in a new light.
The young Hebrew Ezekiel is the person through whom God reveals to his people that, even with the destruction of the temple and the city, and the loss of the promised land, He has not gone back on his covenant. With many images, the prophet Ezekiel compares Israel to a young woman, saved from her abandonment, made to grow and adorned by a merciful Lord. Now beautiful, and a queen, the woman despises the one who had rescued her, and runs away from the love relationship that constitutes her. Ungratefully, she follows other gods: foreign idols, and material goods. In this way, she refuses to depend, entrusting herself to her own political cunning and wastes her riches. This is why she finds herself in exile, like an extreme appeal to return to her Lord.
The prophet not only reveals the reasons for the disaster but, with a series of poetic images, promises the return to Jerusalem, the reconstruction of the temple, government by a just king, and even the resurrection of the dead. This last image, initially seen as the promise of a return to Jerusalem from the “death” of exile, is at the same time a prophecy of the resurrection of Christ and of his definitive victory. It can also be read as the rebuilding of the human subject: “The subject, as chapter 37 of Ezekiel says, is the valley full of bones and the Creator Spirit who fills them, in such a way that they move and cling together, and on that skeleton grows the body, and the body is filled with the soul: each one is recreated and the people is recreated at the same time, with the very same gesture.” (Giussani, Dall’utopia alla presenza)
There are some basic elements in the rebirth the Ezekiel promises, which can indicate a positive road for us today. In the first place, the incredible binomial the “I” and the community (the dry bones in Giussani’s interpretation), against all exasperated individualism and all reduction of the “I” to the crowd. Then there is the great theme of the beauty of creation and the greatness of man’s vocation to collaborate with God’s action, which is the adequate horizon of human work. Here we develop the theme of the memory of God’s action in history, and the specific content of Ezekiel’s promises about the future. Finally, the foundation of everything, visible in the story of the love between the Lord and the abandoned woman: God’s faithfulness, which precedes and underpins every human attempt to rise again.
Our own days resemble the ups and downs of Israel in its relationship with God but, after Christ’s resurrection, we live even more in an “immense certainty.” God has become our travelling companion, a concrete, daily presence. This certainty, sensed but not fulfilled in the prophet’s experience, is what enables the Christian people to pass through every crisis with the creative joy that generated the history we belong to.
Curators: The St. Charles Fraternity