By a sudden blow
Research says that, on average, no event in a person’s life has a more severe emotional impact than the death of a spouse. This is the pain suffered by the prophet Ezekiel in today’s first reading. This pain - and pain very much like it - is also being suffered by many people today: survivors of those killed by Hurricane Charley, survivors of those being massacred in Sudan, or survivors of any person stricken by sudden death.
When terrible things like this happen, the immediate question is “Why?” God really doesn’t give Ezekiel an answer. Sometimes we don’t get a satisfying answer either.
What God does tell Ezekiel is how to react to his wife’s passing: a reaction very different from the way people usually reacted to such circumstances. Other people noticed the difference and it became an occasion for Ezekiel to share with them the Lord’s message.
We do not need to imitate Ezekiel in the details of what he did, but we should follow in his spirit. Because we believe in the revelation of God, because we believe in Christ, because of His death and Resurrection, because we have the Holy Spirit, we see everything in life and in death differently. How we react to things in life (and most especially to death) must therefore be different as well.
We should not be afraid to let our faith influence both our actions and our reactions, even in the face of death. We should not be afraid to let our faith shine.