The Prophet Ezekiel

Beginning this Monday just past and continuing until August 21st, with the exception of some solemnities, feast days and memorial celebrations, our first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel. It is a dense book with lots going on, and it is broken up into bits and bites that make it hard to know what is transpiring. And without that sense of continuity and flow, it’s difficult to understand what the Word is trying to say to us in our time. So…. let me bring you “up to speed.”

There were two waves of exiles/refugees taken from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Ezekiel was in the first wave and was already in Babylon for five years before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (which Ezekiel comes to know in Chapter 33).

Monday’s reading: Ezekiel becomes the first prophet commissioned outside the land of Judah or Israel. Even in exile, God has not abandoned his people. As part of that commissioning, Ezekiel has a vision of the glory of God – there among the people in exile – and that’s good news… sort of. It means God does not abandon his covenant people, but the bad news is that it means the Glory of God has left the Jerusalem temple (more details in Ez 8-11). And it also means that some tough news needs to be delivered to the people already in exile.

Tuesday’s reading: the tough news to be delivered is given to Ezekiel, but we are not told what it contains.

Wednesday’ reading should have been from Ezekiel 9 and 10 but was taken over by the Feast of St. Lawrence. It would have been an ominous reading echoing the Passover when certain folks were marked for life to form a remnant of believing people, but the rest were given over to their idolatry. The passage, in part, describes the sacking and destruction of Jerusalem – five years before the fact. God’s judgment has been made. Later on in Ezekiel 14 and following, God notes that not even the pleading of Noah, Daniel or Job would turn away the judgment.

Thursday’s reading is from Ezekiel 12.  The sins and idolatry have driven God’s glory from the Temple and goes into Exile with his people – but promises that one day a faithful remnant will return to the holy city. But in this reading from Ez 12-24, God’s judgment is announced on Jerusalem and all of Judah/Israel.

And that brings us to today and holds up Ezekiel’s use of allegory. In this reading Israel is compared to a low born, cast off person that no one wanted. Yet, God reached down and lifted Israel up, bringing her into a marriage covenant with God. He established her and yet she was enthralled with her own beauty and importance forgetting the God who lifted her up. She truly had the hard heart Ezekiel foretold in Chapter 11. Yet even then, God promises faithfulness to the Covenant.

The prophet Ezekiel is important. It is the ongoing record that even at our worst, while the consequences of our choices are ours, God is ever with us and ever committed to the covenant.

And that is good news

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.