Daily Homily: Ezekiel's Vision of the Glory of the Lord

August 11, Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28c
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
Matthew 17:22-27

The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel while he was in exile in Babylon, in the «land of the Chaldeans». The prophet heard God’s word and his call in 593 B.C., four years after being deported from Jerusalem into exile. Isaiah saw the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem and heard the seraphim proclaim the holiness and glory of the Lord of Hosts; Ezekiel sees a vision of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord in a foreign land, outside the temple.

«The winged creatures and coals of fire recall Isaiah’s encounter (Is 6:1-8), and the fire, storm, and clouds reflect the revelation at Sinai (Ex 19:1-25; 24:1-8). But unique to Ezekiel are the images of chariot, wheels, and wings swirling together and offering a sense of the dynamic freedom and agility of [the Lord’s] splendor (cf. 2 Kgs 2:11)» (M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 311).

Ezekiel’s vision is both a sign of hope and a sign of judgment: hope because the Lord reveals himself to his people in exile; judgment, because the glory of the Lord is about to depart from the Temple in Jerusalem. «The movement of the Lord’s glory away from the Temple in Jerusalem and the promise of its returning to the restored Temple provide the them framing the text. By means of the Exile, the Lord will transform his people so that he will be able to dwell in their midst (48:35; cf. 3:12)» (M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 311).

Ezekiel sees, above the firmament, above the angels, and seated on a likeness of God’s throne, a likeness in human form. Daniel will see one like a son of man come before God’s throne and receive dominion, glory and kingship. John will see a similar vision in the Book of Revelation. Exiled on the island of Patmos, he will see one like a Son of man (Revelation 1:13).

Like Ezekiel, John also sees four living creatures around God’s throne: one like a lion, one like an ox, one like a man, and one like an eagle. They sing: «Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!» (Revelation 4:6-8). When the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to God, the twenty-four elders fall down in worship, casting aside their crowns and singing: «Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created» (Revelation 4:9-11).

In the Gospel, Jesus foretells his death and resurrection a second time. The first time he did this, Peter reacted very strongly and took Jesus aside to rebuke him and say: «God forbid, Lord». This second time no one opposes Jesus, but they become greatly distressed and overwhelmed with grief. The third time Jesus foretells his death, James and John affirm that they will drink the chalice of suffering with Jesus. Taken together, we can discern a movement along the way to Jerusalem from forceful opposition, to anguished resignation, to shared acceptance.

In his first announcement of his death and resurrection, Jesus says simply that he must suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed. The second time, he says that as the Son of Man, he must be delivered into the hands of men and that they will kill him. The third time, he says that the chief priests and scribes will condemn the Son of Man to death and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified. The third provides details about his upcoming suffering and indicates how he will be killed.

Jesus’ discussion with Peter also reveals his divine sonship. He asks Peter: Do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax «from others» or «from sons»? While kings take tolls and taxes from their people and from the nations they rule, no king taxes his own sons. They are exempt: «The king in this analogy represents God; Jesus as God’s Son (3:17; 17:9) is the Son of the King. Just as the royal sons in a secular kingdom are exempt from paying the king’s taxes, so too Jesus, as God’s Son, is free from paying a tax for God’s house, the temple» (C. Mitch and E. Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Baker Academic, 223).

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Jason Mitchell

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation