Monday, March 27, 2006
TUESDAY 4TH WEEK OF LENT
MARCH 28, 2006
TUESDAY 4TH WEEK OF LENT - YEAR II
EZEKIEL 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 cubit sand
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
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now
there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gatea pool called in Hebrew
Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill,
blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for
thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he
had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be
well? "The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into
the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone
else gets down there before me. "Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up
your mat, and walk. "Immediately the man became well, took up his
mat, and walked. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the
man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you
to carry your mat." He answered them, "The man who made me well told
me, `Take up your mat and walk.' "They asked him, "Who is the man
who told you, `Take it up and walk'?" The man who was healed did not
know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd
there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to
him, "Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse
may happen to you. "The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was
the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to
persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
Most of those who were cured by Jesus asked his help. The cripple in
the gospel did not. He was simply sitting there expecting nothing: a
thirty-eight year old routine. He had already given up hope. He was
at least indifferent to any prospect of a cure. Pessimism leads to
inactivity and unfruitfulness.
We know from experience that Jesus was a deliberate person.
Spontaneous at times, yes, but always knowing what he was about. He
sees this man. He knows his condition, his history and
circumstances. He not only wishes him well but wills him well. Jesus
knows each one of us with all of our complications and suffering,
and he wills the very best for us. He is even more interested in
bringing us good than we are ourselves. Too often we are like this
poor man, resigned and discouraged in our misery. Jesus comes to
offer what was never expected. He gives what was not asked for. He
loves and cares, even when unknown.
When Jesus met again in the temple the man whom he had healed, he
said: "Do not sin any more", precisely because not only had he
healed him of his physical illness, but more importantly, he also
had forgiven all of his sins. As we worry so much about our physical
health and are quick to go immediately to a doctor for help and
assistance, so we should draw near to the healing powers of this
wonderful sacrament of confession. It is in the confessional that
every priest becomes a witness of the great miracles which divine
mercy works in people who receive the grace of conversion. We should
draw near to confession conscious of the fact that Jesus is eager to
forgive our sins and strengthen us with the sacramental grace that
is offered. How long have we put off going to Confession? Has it
been thirty-eight years, or thirty-eight months, or thirty-eight
days? When was the last time we made a really profound confession?
Are we willing to approach Jesus for a cure, or are we content to
live in mediocrity? We let so many graces pass us by simply because
we keep our distance from Jesus.
Jesus always gives the best to those he loves and wants to free us
first from what matters most - what has implications for eternity.
The man at Bethesda has already received a great gift from Jesus,
but Jesus returns to give an even more precious gift. He lets the
man know him as the Savior, the forgiver of sins. Jesus shares the
key to avoiding the worst of possibilities: the loss of eternal
happiness. This time again Jesus takes the initiative and seeks him
out. Cured as he was, he did not know his healer. It is only on the
initiative of Jesus that he can say at the end of that day, "I do
know someone who loves me."
We are creatures with no right to be in Jesus' presence.
Nonetheless, Jesus wants us to approach him, trusting in his
goodness. He is continually calling out to us: "Do not be afraid.
Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give
you rest. Learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart."
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the special intentions of Mike Torres.
- for the personal intentions of Charles and Cheryl C
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- In Memoriam (+): Trinidad Lee Sun
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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