Day 210: Speaking God's Word

Isaiah 41:1-7 This prophecy pertains to Cyrus, King of Persia, whose armies swept through the region almost at will around 600 BC. The prophet explains that God determines the outcome of wars and, therefore, any forms of idolatry for the sake of good fortune in war is futile. (CCC 2567)

Ch 41:8-29 The Lord has a very special and paternal love for Israel and eagerly looked forward to restoring her to her homeland from her exile. He had empowered Cyrus for this very purpose, who finally defeated Babylon and allowed the Jewish deportees to return home. Once again God showed his people that he is the one true God who could both use and subdue powerful nations. In restoring the land of his Chosen People, God revealed again the futility of worshiping false idols. (CCC 2112)

Ch 42:1-9 The first several verses of this chapter comprise the first part of what are called the “servant songs” of Isaiah, which form a compelling prophecy about the nature of the coming Messiah. The Messiah, as perceived by the people of that time, would liberate the Chosen People from their oppressors once and for all. Moreover, he would bring glory and honor to Israel. In reality, the long-awaited Savior would bring salvation to everyone who believed in and accepted him. His liberation was not an earthly one but rather consisted of deliverance from sin and the bondage of the Evil One. (CCC 536, 555, 580, 713, 2419)

Ch 42:1-4, 6-7 These verses comprise one option for the First Reading at Mass on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Ch 42:10-25 A new hymn celebrates the promise of justice and the liberation that it necessarily entails. The people of Israel must not think that God had abandoned them; rather, it was the people themselves who had turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the Lord, failing to remember his covenant and his constant presence among them. St. John Paul II reminded us that as believers we “must be able to discern the signs of divine action even when they are hidden by the apparently monotonous, aimless flow of time...Discovering this divine presence, with the eyes of faith, in space and time but also within ourselves, is a source of hope and confidence, even when our hearts are agitated and shaken” (General Audience, April 2, 2003)

Ezekiel 2:1 Son of man: Translated from an Aramaic term meaning “human,” it refers to Ezekiel’s humanity, which is overwhelmed through his encounter with God’s divine majesty. (CCC 440, 653)

Ch 2:2 Spirit: This term, especially from a Christian perspective, enlightens and inspires the mind and prompts the soul to follow the way of God (CCC 684, 693)

Ch 2:3-7 Israel was identified as a “nation of rebels” because of the people’s infidelity to their covenant with God.

Thus says the Lord God: God inspired Ezekiel directly to speak in his name.

A prophet among them: With the Kingdom of David interrupted, there was no king to stand as God’s appointed leader. This left the prophets as the only ones to speak on God’s behalf. Ezekiel thus became invested with an authority that was recognized as coming from God. 

Ch 2:8-9 The scroll was either rolled-up papyrus or some other writing material that was opened for Ezekiel to disclose a divine message.

Ch 3:1-3 St. Gregory the Great wrote about what the consumption of the scroll in this passage was meant to show us: “The Holy Scriptures are food and drink to nourish us...We do not chew what we drink; when the teaching is clear, we swallow it whole, because we are in need of no further explanation. The prophet Ezekiel will hear difficult and obscure words, so he is told to eat the scroll, not to drink it, as if to say, ‘Meditate on this teaching and understand it well’” (Homiliae in Ezechielem Prophetam, 1, 10, 3). By eating the scroll, then, Ezekiel was taking in God’s Word so that he might communicate it directly to God’s people. The image of eating a scroll also appears in the Book of Revelation (cf. Rev 10:9-10)

Ch 3:4-15 God warned Ezekiel about the stubbornness of the people of Israel and that he had to be more steadfast in preaching his Word than the people’s propensity to reject it. 

Earthquake: This theophany represents the presence of God. 

Ch 3:16-21 A watchman functioned like a guard, or sentry, i.e., he protected his people by remaining alert in order to warn them of the appearance of an adversary. God gave Ezekiel the task of watching over the exiled people together with the serious duty of preaching his Word clearly and boldly.

Ch 3:22-27 Ezekiel was to live among the people for whom he prophesied probably as a way of showing his solidarity with them. The people would come to Ezekiel’s home to hear him speak. The mutentess of which God spoke indicates that Ezekiel would not speak of anything unless it came from God himself. (CCC 2467)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you. And we know that you are our Father. And so because you are our Father, you want us to be like your Son. You want us to be icons of Jesus Christ in this world and we are not, because we go astray. We are not because we don’t trust you. We are not because we don’t love like you love. We don’t love like Christ loves. And so we ask you to send your Spirit into our hearts, because we can’t. We don’t have the ability. We don’t have the capacity to love as you love, to be as you are, and to live as Christ, your Son, lived on our own. But with your help, we can do all things. If we remain in your Son, Jesus, we can accomplish your Will by the power of your Holy Spirit. So please once again, Lord, send your Holy Spirit into our lives, that we may be fully yours and images, icons, of you to this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”