If you have been following along with the daily readings for Mass, you recognize that Ezekiel has something to say, which is not always nice, to say the least. To give a bit of background, the introduction from the New American Bible can be found here.
I think it is important to put the prophets, especially, into the context of the historical time in which they write. This is never more true than with Ezekiel, as his visions and statements are bold and dramatic. As is mentioned in the Introduction above, Ezekiel is unique in that he receives the call to prophecy outside of the Holy Land, as his call some while the people are trapped in exile in Babylon, the lowest point in the Ancient History of the Jewish People.
Part of what is going on with the prophet here is the call to conversion (which is consistent throughout all the prophets!), but on a more personal level. The People of Israel being contained in captivity were not taking personal responsibility for their fall away from God, yet rather blamed the Captivity on the sins of their forefathers.
Ezekiel wants them to recognize that their own sins also contributed to the situation in which they now found themselves.
This is a call that is just as relevant today as it was in 570 BC in Babylon. We continue to hear talk of repayment for past sins, holding on to grudges that have happened eons ago, and ‘passing the buck’ of responsibility to The Man. Rather, when we own up to the mistakes, forgiveness is granted and we are able to learn and grow closer to God as we admit we are weak and fallible, and need His strength to go through our days.
To make it hit home: what’s the difference, here in Cincinnati, between the reception that Josh Hamilton received versus what Chris Henry is getting now?