TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
READ: EZ 47:1-9, 12
The angel brought me, Ezekiel, back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the right side. Then when he had walked off to the east with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water, which was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand and once more had me wade through the water, which was now knee-deep. Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade; the water was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand, but there was now a river through which I could not wade; for the water had risen so high it had become a river that could not be crossed except by swimming. He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?" Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit. Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides. He said to me, "This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine
Have you ever had a dream that you wake up from feeling refreshed, or where you you figured out a problem in the dream and you wake up feeling better? The vision of Ezekiel in our passage today reads like a dream, and is meant to leave us with a sense of peace as well as give us insight into what God is doing in the Church.
Visions are full of symbolism. The Church looks to Jesus' life to help us understand the meaning of the symbols. Thought of another way, the Gospel is like a black light over the invisible in the Old Testament. Only when we understand the meaning of the symbolism can we understand how it applies to our life. In one of his Holy Saturday homilies Pope Emeritus Benedict helps us to do just that:
"The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the new Temple from which a spring issues forth that becomes a great life-giving river (cf. Ezekiel 47:1-12). In a land which constantly suffered from drought and water shortage, this was a great vision of hope. Early Christianity understood: in Christ, this vision was fulfilled. He is the true, living Temple of God. He is the spring of living water. From him, the great river pours forth, which in Baptism renews the world and makes it fruitful; the great river of living water, his Gospel which makes the earth fertile. Jesus, however, prophesied something still greater. He said: 'Whoever believes in me … out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water' (John 7:38). In Baptism, the Lord makes us not only persons of light, but also sources from which living water bursts forth. We all know people like that, who leave us somehow refreshed and renewed; people who are like a fountain of fresh spring water. We do not necessarily have to think of great saints like Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and so on, people through whom rivers of living water truly entered into human history. Thanks be to God, we find them constantly even in our daily lives: people who are like a spring. Certainly, we also know the opposite: people who spread around themselves an atmosphere like a stagnant pool of stale, or even poisoned water. Let us ask the Lord, who has given us the grace of Baptism, for the gift always to be sources of pure, fresh water, bubbling up from the fountain of his truth and his love! (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on Holy Saturday, 2009)."
Who is someone you know that is a fountain of God's life?
How can you imitate them?
In what way does your life bring life (aka Jesus/ the Holy Spirit) to others?
In what way is the water flowing from your heart "stagnant, stale, or even poisoned"?
How does God clean the "fountains" of our hearts?
Today's reading reminds us that God does the work of making us holy. How can you let his grace into your life more this week?
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn. The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Come! behold the deeds of the LORD, the astounding things he has wrought on earth. R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
How are you going to love God and your neighbor more as a result of your prayer today?