Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read Isaiah 40. This chapter may sound familiar to you as it is read a lot during the season of Lent. St John the Baptist also helps to prepare the people for the coming of Christ and Proclaims Jesus as the lamb of God. Today we also read from the book of Ezekiel who is a prophet and a priest from the tribe of Levi. He is taken into exile in Babylon.
Ezekiel has a vision of four figures. God reveals to Ezekiel that he is with his people in exile and has not abandoned them. The four living creatures have the faces of a man, lion, ox and eagle. The church later interpreted these faces as the Gospel writers. The Matthew is represented by the man. Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Abraham. The lion represents Mark, who shows that Jesus is the lion of Judah. The ox represents Luke, who speaks of sacrificial rites. Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was priestly. The eagle represents John. He is like an eagle soaring.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 At that time, the king of Babylon, Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard of his illness and his recovery.
2 Hezekiah was delighted at this and showed the ambassadors his entire treasury, the silver, gold, spices, precious oil, his armoury too, and everything to be seen in his storehouses. There was nothing in his palace or in his whole domain that Hezekiah did not show them.
3 The prophet Isaiah then came to King Hezekiah and asked him, ‘What have these men said, and where have they come to you from?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come from a distant country, from Babylon.’
4 Isaiah said, ‘What have they seen in your palace?’ ‘They have seen everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah answered. ‘There is nothing in my storehouses that I have not shown them.’
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh Sabaoth,
6 “The days are coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have amassed until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Not a thing will be left,” Yahweh says.
7 “Sons sprung from you, sons begotten by you, will be abducted to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” ‘
8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘This word of Yahweh that you announce is reassuring,’ for he was thinking, ‘There is going to be peace and security during my lifetime.’
1 ‘Console my people, console them,’ says your God.
2 ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and cry to her that her period of service is ended, that her guilt has been atoned for, that, from the hand of Yahweh, she has received double punishment for all her sins.’
3 A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands.
4 Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be levelled, every cliff become a plateau, every escarpment a plain;
5 then the glory of Yahweh will be revealed and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.’
6 A voice said, ‘Cry aloud!’ and I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ -‘All humanity is grass and all its beauty like the wild flower’s.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of Yahweh blows on them. (The grass is surely the people.)
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.’
9 Go up on a high mountain, messenger of Zion. Shout as loud as you can, messenger of Jerusalem! Shout fearlessly, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’
10 Here is Lord Yahweh coming with power, his arm maintains his authority, his reward is with him and his prize precedes him.
11 He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
12 Who was it measured the water of the sea in the hollow of his hand and calculated the heavens to the nearest inch, gauged the dust of the earth to the nearest bushel, weighed the mountains in scales, the hills in a balance?
13 Who directed the spirit of Yahweh, what counsellor could have instructed him?
14 Whom has he consulted to enlighten him, to instruct him in the path of judgement, to teach him knowledge and show him how to understand?
15 See, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, they count as a grain of dust on the scales. See, coasts and islands weigh no more than fine powder.
16 The Lebanon is not enough for the burning fires nor its animals enough for the burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him, for him they count as nothingness and emptiness.
18 To whom can you compare God? What image can you contrive of him?
19 The craftsman casts an idol, a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts silver chains for it.
20 Someone too poor to afford a sacrifice chooses a piece of wood that will not rot; he then seeks out a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not totter.
21 Did you not know, had you not heard? Was it not told you from the beginning? Have you not understood how the earth was set on its foundations?
22 He who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, the inhabitants of which are like grasshoppers, stretches out the heavens like a cloth, spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He reduces princes to nothing, the rulers of the world to mere emptiness.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the soil, than he blows on them and they wither and the storm carries them away like chaff.
25 ‘To whom can you compare me, or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.
26 Lift your eyes and look: he who created these things leads out their army in order, summoning each of them by name. So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.
27 How can you say, Jacob, how can you repeat, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from Yahweh, my rights are ignored by my God’?
28 Did you not know? Had you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, he created the remotest parts of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming.
29 He gives strength to the weary, he strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths grow tired and weary, the young stumble and fall,
31 but those who hope in Yahweh will regain their strength, they will sprout wings like eagles, though they run they will not grow weary, though they walk they will never tire.
1 In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, as I was among the exiles by the River Chebar, heaven opened and I saw visions from God.
2 On the fifth of the month — it was the fifth year of exile for King Jehoiachin-
3 the word of Yahweh was addressed to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in Chaldaea by the River Chebar. There the hand of Yahweh came on him.
4 I looked; a stormy wind blew from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and brilliant light round it, and in the middle, in the heart of the fire, a brilliance like that of amber,
5 and in the middle what seemed to be four living creatures. They looked like this: They were of human form.
6 Each had four faces, each had four wings.
7 Their legs were straight; they had hooves like calves, glittering like polished brass.
8 Below their wings, they had human hands on all four sides corresponding to their four faces and four wings.
9 They touched one another with their wings; they did not turn as they moved; each one moved straight forward.
10 As to the appearance of their faces, all four had a human face, and a lion’s face to the right, and all four had a bull’s face to the left, and all four had an eagle’s face.
11 Their wings were spread upwards, each had one pair touching its neighbour’s, and the other pair covering its body.
12 And each one moved straight forward; they went where the spirit urged them, they did not turn as they moved.
13 Between these living creatures were what looked like blazing coals, like torches, darting backwards and forwards between the living creatures; the fire gave a brilliant light, and lightning flashed from the fire,
14 and the living creatures kept disappearing and reappearing like flashes of lightning.
15 Now, as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel touching the ground beside each of the four-faced living creatures.
16 The appearance and structure of the wheels were like glittering chrysolite. All four looked alike, and their appearance and structure were such that each wheel seemed to have another wheel inside it.
17 In whichever of the four directions they moved, they did not need to turn as they moved.
18 Their circumference was of awe-inspiring size, and the rims of all four sparkled all the way round.
19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures left the ground, the wheels too left the ground.
20 They moved in whichever direction the spirit chose to go, and the wheels rose with them, since the wheels shared the spirit of the animals.
21 When the living creatures moved on, they moved on; when the former halted, the latter halted; when the former left the ground, the wheels too left the ground, since the wheels shared the spirit of the animals.
22 Over the heads of the living creatures was what looked like a solid surface glittering like crystal, spread out over their heads, above them,
23 and under the solid surface, their wings were spread out straight, touching one another, and each had a pair covering its body.
24 I also heard the noise of their wings; when they moved, it was like the noise of flood-waters, like the voice of Shaddai, like the noise of a storm, like the noise of an armed camp; and when they halted, they lowered their wings;
25 there was a noise too.
26 Beyond the solid surface above their heads, there was what seemed like a sapphire, in the form of a throne. High above on the formof a throne was a form with the appearance of a human being.
27 I saw a brilliance like amber, like fire, radiating from what appeared to be the waist upwards; and from what appeared to be the waist downwards, I saw what looked like fire, giving a brilliant light all round.
28 The radiance of the encircling light was like the radiance of the bow in the clouds on rainy days. The sight was like the glory of Yahweh. I looked and fell to the ground, and I heard the voice of someone speaking to me.
29 Whoever misgoverns a house inherits the wind, and the fool becomes slave to the wise.
30 The fruit of the upright is a tree of life: the sage captivates souls.
31 If here on earth the upright gets due reward, how much more the wicked and the sinner!