My name is Ezekiel. I am a priest. Since the time I lived among the exiles in Babylon I have seen the heavens open up. I have seen many visions. I have heard the voice of the God of Israel. When the word of the Lord is given to me as a message for my people, I deliver it. Sometimes the people listen and obey. Sometimes they do not.
When they complain about difficult times or a poor crop or other misfortunes, the Lord hears them. If they say following God’s laws is too hard for them, the Lord hears that as well. Here is what he told them in reply.
“You say ‘the Lord’s way is not fair!’ When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; … Is it my way that is not fair, house of Israel, or rather, is it not that your ways are not fair?”
I have told my people the words God has given me because of his great love for them. I have seen fiery clouds in the sky, I have seen ferocious beasts with wings. I have seen scrolls appear before me, that I was told to eat. For a time, as a lesson to all, including myself, the Lord made me unable to speak. My faith is often tested, but I remain faithful to my God.
Many of the messages God gives are about his great forgiveness. “Turn and be converted,” he has said. “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies … . Return and live!”
God has given us a message to hear. He wants us to live and not to die. May we all do as the Lord bids us, so that we may live.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. When did Ezekiel start having holy visions?
2. What did God say we would receive if we cast away our crimes?
When we were born our parents gave us names. We may have been named after another family member or because our names had a certain meaning. In the Bible, God is referred to by several names, each of which has a special meaning. Abba means “father.” Yahweh was a very holy name for God which meant “I who am.” A variation of this name is Jehovah. When Jesus taught people to pray he started his prayer with “our Father.” Jesus also had several names, many of which are very poetic. Alpha and Omega, based on letters of the Greek alphabet, means “the first and the last.” Christ, or the Messiah, both mean “the anointed one.” He is also the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, the Word and our Teacher. The word Christian comes from the name of Christ.
Michael, Duke of Chernigov, was one of the first Christians to be recognized as a martyr from Russia. Many others perished for their faith when Russia was invaded by barbarians in the 13th century. When he was first faced with danger, Michael fled from the city of Kiev to a safer hiding place. Unable to bear the thought of his people being killed by the invaders, Michael returned to Kiev and entered one of the barbarian camps. Their leader, Bati, offered him bribes if he would worship their gods in front of the Russian Christians. He refused and was taken prisoner. Michael’s friends wanted to help him escape, but he did not want them to risk their own safety for him. He was a brave man and a faithful Christian who died in 1246. We honor St. Michael of Chernigov on Sept. 21.