We could think of the wild beasts and angels as opposing forces. The wild beasts could be understood as putting Jesus’ relationship with God to the test, enticing him to put himself rather than God at the centre of his life. The angels, in contrast, support Jesus in his time of struggle, giving him the strength to stand firm in the test, to withstand the onslaught.
Today’s readings confront us with two aspects of the question. Firstly the need for a sense of individual responsibility in the way of conversion. Ezekiel certainly made it clear that the individual is addressed by the Word of God calling for repentance. There is no way out of this personal responsibility. But all of this should not be seen simply in terms of what the individual owes to the community. The whole Church is called to be supportive of each person who seeks reconciliation. This is especially important in a world where so many people feel threatened by the alienating force of impersonal state structures. The Church is not called to be a mega-corporation.
How the Risen Lord is still with us
We could ask how is the Risen Lord with us? The New Testament and the church tradition offer a rich array of “presences”. Christ is present via my neighbour in need, via created reality beautiful and awe-inspiring, whenever the disciples gather, in the word proclaimed, in the sacrament celebrated and through the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we do not always feel this presence, but the words of Jesus are a guarantee that no matter what is going on in my life or my community or my church, he is till with us.