Friday within the Octave of the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
Scripture: Ezekiel 17:22-24 (NKJV)
22 Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is described by the Prophet Ezekiel as a “majestic cedar” tree. This tree has as its root the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on another tree—the holy cross. This root—our Lord Jesus—was planted on the high and prominent mountain of Golgotha for all the world to see. There He suffered and died in innocence to redeem us from sin, death and the devil.
The Apostles went out from Jerusalem and grafted in more and more branches into this tree by preaching Christ crucified and risen from the dead to all the world, so that now the world is filled with the branches of this tree, which protects the birds—all those who have been baptized into the faith—as they dwell in its branches.
This “majestic cedar” which was formed from the Branch of Christ is the Church. All those who cling to our Lord Jesus Christ and His merits of salvation—all the little birds—find their life and protection within her branches. We find our home and our food in this tree, and we continue daily to hear God’s Word. We receive and rejoice in His Sacraments, which bestow upon us forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation, so that we might live in her branches for all eternity.
We pray: O Almighty and Eternal God, Who through the resurrection of Thy Son hast sealed the promise of our resurrection, grant unto us the grace to joy in this Thy promise, as we await the consummation of all the saints; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.