Ezekiel was both a Priest and a Prophet and prophesied to his fellow Jews during the Babylonian exile. When the people initially were taken into exile, the city of Jerusalem and King Solomon’s temple were still intact. It is only when both are destroyed that the people take Ezekiel seriously as he had prophesied their destruction and ruin.
In today’s first reading, Ezekiel uses the image of sentry or watchman to explain his role as the Lord’s prophet. It is a far-reaching and serious responsibility “when you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name”.
This passage speaks to us of our own duty to fraternally correct and admonish those who need to renounce their wicked ways and repent and in doing so we save our own lives in the process. Failure to do so is made very clear in this passage, we arrive at the same fate as the unrepentant.