March 28, 2017

March 28

March 28, 2017:  Tuesday, 4th week, Lent

  • 'Angel' pin:  Angel brought Ezekiel to temple entrance (1st reading)
  • 'Fish' tie:  Wherever the river flows, there shall be abundant fish (1st reading)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  Angel measured successive 1,000 cubits (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' and 'apple' pins:  where the river flows, trees shall bear fruit (1st reading)
  • 'Leaf' pin (gone; remember it):  Their leaves shall serve as medicine (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Bethesda pool at the Sheep Gate (gospel)
  • 'Walking person' tie pin:  "Rise, pick up your mat, and walk" (gospel)
  • Blue shirt:  water (all readings)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

Don't look at this unless you're planning Easter Vigil music and not yet finished:  Easter Vigil bundle:  my settings of all ten psalms and canticles for that glorious celebration
When Jesus saw the sick man at the pool, he asked him, “Do you want to be well?”  He keeps asking us too, “Do you want to be well?  Happy?  Filled with the Spirit?  Do you want to improve your life?”  When Jesus asked him, instead of saying yes, he complained he could never get to the pool in time.  He implied that life had been unjust with him.  It's clear from his attitude that he was like the tree that couldn't be nourished by the water because its roots didn't reach the water.  This is the ugly sin of sloth.  His disease was not so much paralysis but sloth, worse than a lukewarm heart.  It causes you to lose the memory of joy and live without wanting to go forward and do something.
Instead of rebuking him, Jesus said, “Take up your mat, and walk.”  Since it was a Sabbath, the doctors of the law told him he couldn't carry the mat and asked him who told him to.  The man hadn't even thanked Jesus or asked his name; he rose and walked with that slothful attitude, looking to others who are happier and forgetting joy.  Sloth paralyzes us, stops us from walking.  Even today, the Lord looks to each of us sinners and says “Rise.”  He tells us to take hold of life, be it beautiful or difficult, and move on:  “Don't be afraid; carry your mat” and come to the waters to quench your thirst with joy and ask Me to help you get up and know the joy of salvation.

  • Ez 47:1-9, 12  The angel brought me to the temple entrance, and I saw water flowing out, first a trickle, then ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then a river.  “Wherever the river flows, every creature shall live,  the sea shall be made fresh, fruit trees shall grow and bear fruit.”
  • Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9  "The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob."  There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God; God is in its midst.  God will help it at the break of dawn.  Come behold the Lord's astounding deeds!
  • Jn 5:1-16  A man in the pool called Bethesda had been ill 38 years.  Jesus / man:  “Want to be well?” / “I have no one to put me into the pool; others beat me there.” / “Rise and walk.”  He did.  Jews / cured man:  “It's not lawful for you to carry your mat on the sabbath.” / “The man who made me well told me to.”  Jesus to man:  “You're well; don't sin.”  Man to Jews:  "Jesus healed me"; they started to persecute Jesus.
      Christ healing the lame at the pool of Bethesda/ van Lint
    • Creighton:  Today’s readings point to the power of the living water we find through Jesus Christ.  During the Babylonian captivity, God spoke through Ezekiel about what was to come; the message also resonates with those in all forms of “captivity” today.  The flow began as a trickle but increased till it became a river flowing into the world.  When the water touches the sea, it cleanses everything it touches.   When God’s living water flows through us, God’s love grows and expands more than we can imagine.  May we recognize and take advantage of God’s living water.
    In Psalms, the image of water and its power helps us understand the power of God's cleansing message and what can be accomplished when we allow God’s love to flow through us.  John reinforces the power of living water in today's gospel at the pool of Bethesda, a pool people believed had healing power when stirred up.  The man couldn't get to the pool quick enough, but Jesus, source of healing/living water, cured him.  God is our refuge, strength, and help; we're called to be the conduit for his living water flowing through us...
      Christ at the Pool of Bethesda/ Wolffort
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Rivers of living water":  The trickle of water became a river that emptied into the sea and made salt water fresh, bringing life wherever it flowed.  The psalmist refers to "a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God," a river of peace where the Lord stops "wars to the end of the earth."  The gospel mentions the water of the pool of Bethesda that healed the first person who plunged in it after it was agitated.  The waters of Baptism are greater than Ezekiel's river of life, the psalmist's river of peace, the pool of Bethesda, the flood waters in Noah's time, the waters of the Red Sea, and even the Jordan where Jesus was baptized. When we renew our baptismal promises, we reject Satan, his works, and his empty promises, and profess faith in God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and so know the waters' lifegiving, cleansing, freeing, healing power.  Lord, bless all those preparing for Baptism at this Easter Vigil, and all the baptized....
      Christ healing the paralytic/ Giovane
    • Passionist:  Water can give life or take it.  Just enough rain will produce a bountiful harvest, but too much or too little can ruin it.  Lack of rain can cause hardship and loss in other ways too.  In the 1st reading we see life-giving water.  We've experienced times of fruitfulness and abundance as well as times of drought and dryness.  As we move towards the Easter celebrations, water becomes much more of a focal point; may we celebrate and give thanks for the life-giving water of faith and love...
    •  "Walk and sin no more":  God gave Ezekiel a vision of the rivers of living water flowing from God's throne to heal and restore his people.  We begin to see its fulfillment when Jesus announces the coming of God's kingdom and performs signs demonstrating of the kingdom's power.  The man Jesus spoke with in today's gospel had been paralyzed more than 38 years and had no friends to help him wash in the healing pool.  Jesus offered him total healing, awakening his faith and curing his paralysis.  The Lord asks us the same question:  "Do you really want to be healed?" The first step is wanting change.  If we're happy where we are, no coaxing will change us, but if we ask for mercy and healing, he won't refuse.

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