The Catholic Defender: Ezekiel 36:25-27 Glorifies The Name Of The Lord
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances."
Because of the sins of the Nation, the Israelite were taken from their homeland and enslaved in Babylon. The Lord God echos a promise He once gave to the Prophet Jeremiah:
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
This is the baseline why Jesus states, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17)
The promise of the coming of the Messiah was the great hope for many in Israel who longed for the stump of Jesse to take root. God does bring the Israelite home which will set the stage of the coming of the Son of Man. Notice Ezekiel 36:25:
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you."
St. John the Baptist began his public ministry baptizing many at the Jordan River. It was at this point that Jesus came to John:
"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Soon after the calling of the Apostles, Jesus told Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." and soon after we see Jesus Disciples baptizing people.
Of baptism, St. Peter states, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,"
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, He continued to be with His Apostles for 40 days when Jesus told them, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
Of baptism, St. Paul states, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism,6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all."
This call would become a most important mark on the soul, "Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads."
Baptism leaves the Mark that God recognizes in each and every person, those who are cleansed by the power of Christ's shed blood.
To the baptized, God gives the promise of His Holy Spirit, a new heart that is a response to God's call. Because of sin, the heart grows cold, but because of the Spirit of God, Jesus liberates the soul so that the love of God flows. We have a hunger for God.
To Jesus this is not merely symbolic, but a real event, a real happening, "and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." That is a most interesting promise. Jesus preached a most unique message to the people who were calling for a sign:
"So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
Jesus makes this preaching fact at the last supper, "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
In the history of the Catholic Church for the past 2,000 years, there have been hundreds if not thousands of Eucharistic Miracles. Just a few that occurred the past few years:
Where: The parish of Saint Mary in Buenos Aires
What happened: While both other miracles are definitely worth finding out about, the most interesting and comprehensive study was done with the 1996 Eucharist. It began bleeding when consecrated and part of it became human tissue. After several intense studies, it was found that the tissue was part of a heart, a muscle of the myocardium, the left ventricle, the muscle that gives life to the whole heart and body.
The tissue revealed further that it belonged to a person who had gone through intense pain, experiencing extended periods of time where he could barely breathe, had immense strain put on the heart (both common feature of crucifixion) and had been stabbed in the left side. What was most insane was that despite the fact this should have killed the person, the tissue showed signs of being ‘alive’.
This was evidenced by intact white blood cells being found in the tissue. This showed the heart sample was pulsating as elsewise the white blood cells would have disintegrated roughly 15 minutes outside of a living body.
Interesting fact: The Archbishop who commissioned the research was none other than the now Pope Francis!
Where: The Parish of Saint Martin of Tours in Tixtle
When: 21 October 2006
What Happened: During a Mass in a parish retreat, a host that was about to be distributed was effusing a reddish substance. The diocese decided to conduct extensive scientific study of the host to discern its cause, origin and ensure there was no hoax being played. The study took several years but its results were eventually published in 2013. The reddish substance analysed in the host was indeed blood in which there was DNA and haemoglobins of human origin.
Two studies conducted by eminent forensic experts using different methods both showed that blood came from inside the host; this showed that it wasn’t possible that the blood was placed on the host from an outside source. The blood type was AB positive, the same type as found in other Eucharistic miracles and the Holy Shroud of Turin. A microscopic analysis of the blood in 2010 showed that since 2006 much of the blood visible had coagulated (as expected) but that underlying internal layers contained the presence of fresh blood which showed that the Eucharist was still bleeding.
The human tissue found in the host was living, evidenced by intact white and red blood cells and active macrophages. The immunohistochemical studies revealed that the tissue found corresponds to the muscle of the heart mentioned in Buenos Aires, the Myocardium. All in all, the study proved beyond a doubt that the occurrence was not of natural origin and went further by linking this miracle to the others that happen around the world.
Where: The parish church of Saint Mary in Chirattakonam
When: 5 May 2001
What Happened: On April 28 2001, the church began the Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus as they did every year. At 8:49am, the priest exposed the Most Holy Sacrament in the monstrance for public adoration. After a few moments they saw what appeared to be three dots in the Holy Eucharist. They prayed to the host for a while and then it was placed secure in the tabernacle.
The priest then went to the archbishop of the diocese to inform him of the change but when he returned to the parish and opened the tabernacle it had in fact developed further as now clearly in the Eucharist was not only the three red dots but a face crowned with a crown of thorns.
It is suggested that the three red dots refer to the three wounds St. Thomas asked to see of Jesus before he would believe he rose from the dead, a thought compounded by the fact that this was the reading of the day. The Eucharist remains there to this day and is often adored by the faithful.
Where: The Marian Shrine of Finca Betania in Cúa
When: 8 December 1991
What Happened: The priest had just divided the big host into four parts and consumed one of those pieces, as is normal in the Mass. When he placed the remaining pieces back on the paten (the plate the host is kept on) he noticed that one of the pieces now had a red spot and from it a red substance was coming out, similar to the manner in which blood escapes from a wound, the numerous pilgrims who were there immediately verified the blood did not come from the priest. The host continues to produce fresh blood and the then-Bishop of Los Teques requested a series of studies to test the Eucharist’s miraculous appearance.
The host was analysed by 500 commissions of the World Health Organization and it was confirmed that the blood of the priest did not match that of the Eucharist. The studies, like before, showed that the blood came from inside the host and matched that of other Eucharistic miracles, it again being AB positive and from a living heart. It is possible to go and see the miraculous host all days of the year at any hour in the convent of the Augustianian Recollects Nuns of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Los Teques.
Where: The parish church of Saint Anthony of Sokółka
2 October 2008
What Happened: A consecrated host accidentally fell to the ground during Mass and, when the priest noticed it, he believed it was dirty and so placed it in a vasculum (a small container filled with water) to dissolve it and get rid of a dirty host in the proper manner. Later, when it was brought out again, although it was partially dissolved it was still there and what was thought to be ‘dirt’ at a passing glance was in fact what at looked like a blood clot. Intense study followed and two scientists of global fame and specialists in pathological anatomy at the Medical University of Białystok were called in to lead the investigation, Professor Maria Elżbieta Sobaniec-Łotowska and Professor Stanisław Sulkowski.
These two scientists studied the ‘blood clot’ independent of each other and made use of the most modern optical microscopes and the transmission electronic microscope. To further ensure no bias in the study, Professor Sulkowski was not informed that the sample which he was examining came from a host. Despite this, both scientists reached the same conclusion: the sample examined was neither a clot, nor blood… it was a human cardiac muscle tissue (heart tissue) and was still alive.
The details of the heart’s condition are the same as those we’ve mentioned earlier, but the most incredible thing about this study was that, due to the advanced nature of the equipment they used, they were able to observe that the cardiac tissue was joined to the consecrated host in an inseparable manner. There is no scientific explanation for this; they penetrated each other, as if a fragment of ‘bread’ had suddenly transformed itself into ‘body’.
It is not possible to manipulate an event of this type. No one, absolutely no one, would have been able to do it. “Even the scientists of NASA, who have at their disposal the most modern analytical techniques, would not be able to artificially recreate such a thing” affirmed Professor Sobaniec-Łotowska.
These brief examples point to each and every Mass that brings the importance of Ezekiel 36:25-27 to the forefront. It is for the Glory of God's Name that God calls His people to Himself. Through our Baptism and Confirmation, the Spirit of God pours out giving us the Seal of the Holy Spirit.
It is through the Sacrament of Penance that we receive the Mercy of God that brings back the Prodigals. It is through the receiving of the Eucharist that our hearts of stone are replaced with the Lord's Heart of Flesh.
It is through Apostolic Succession that Christ Priesthood has offered all Seven Sacraments. Without priests, there would be no Eucharist. Pray for our priests, yes, but also pray for Men to respond to the Lord's call to become priests. The harvest is many but the laborers are few.
Easter is a great opportunity to answer the call of the Lord to follow him.