A set of rebels
In Ezekiel, God calls the people of Israel “a set of rebels”, who have been in continuous revolt against God: They “have turned against me”. This revolt is more than a simple rejection. We may live ignoring God, and treating him as if we have nothing to do with him. A revolt implies a conscious effort to get rid of him and to take his place, and that in spite of the covenant established with God. In their unfaithfulness, they broke the covenant.
They took offence at him
In the Gospel, we find a similar attitude in the residents of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown: “And they took offence at him” (Mk 6:4), in such a way that Jesus was surprised at their unbelief. For them, Jesus was only “the carpenter”; and so they ignored and despised him.
This attitude of rejection and revolt goes on. We can find it in our society, not only among unbelievers, but also among those who should know better and who profess themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ. And that is what is painful.
A prophetic voice questions and challenges
To the rebels – to ourselves – God sends prophets (like Ezekiel). The prophet will go through the painful experience of rejection, which may cause one to question himself, as some prophets did. The rejection will cause disappointment and discouragement; and some may even abandon completely the mission entrusted to them. But a prophet must speak the words of the Lord, whether they hear or refuse to hear, so that they may know that a prophet is among them (Ezk 2:5).
The prophet is a voice among the people to question and challenge, a voice that denounces and accuses; and mainly it is a voice that proclaims God’s love and mercy, and calls people back to God. He is a witness to God’s presence and action which come out of his love.