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I suppose all of us are familiar with the song that goes this way: “My foot bone is connected to my leg bone; my leg bone is connected to my knee bone; my knee bone is connected to my hip bone,” and so on and so forth. This ditty is a favorite among children. It is also often sung in charismatic prayer meetings.

The scriptural basis for that song is what you hear in the first reading, the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, on the parable of the valley of the dry bones. Ezekiel sees a whole valley filled with dry bones. In that same vision, he sees that the bones are moving, and are getting connected with one another. And then the sinews and the muscles develop until finally there is a rattling sound somewhere and the dry bones come alive. They have become a human being.

The dry bones symbolize Israel and Judah, which were greatly discouraged at that time. Israel and Judah were thinking that they had been forsaken and abandoned by God. They were dry bones, isolated from one another, useless. And then, when they related to the other bones, when the breath of life was given to them, Israel and Judah were resurrected.

The gospel sharpens this allegory even more. The gospel points to the source of life that gives the dry bones life. According to the gospel, the source of life is that four-letter word, “love.” If there is love, there is life. If there is no love, there can be no life. The laws that are given to us, according to the gospel, are like the dead words that are put together like the dead bones. If you put together words, you come up with a statement. If you put love into the statement, then the statement becomes life-giving. That is what the Lord is telling us today. If we put love into everything we do, it becomes life-giving. If you put love into words, your words become life. If you put love into death, then death becomes an instrument of life. On the other hand, no matter what we do, no matter how beautiful our songs may be, no matter how beautiful our words may be, if there is no love in them, they will remain like scattered bones, lifeless and useless.

Let us beg the Lord for the grace, that in everything we plan, in everything we do, in everything we say, there may be love. So that out of the dry bones of our discouragement, despair, confusion, hurts and pain, we may discover the Lord of life.

Ez 37:1-14; Mt 22:34-40
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