I saw water flowing out. (Ezekiel 47:1)

I saw water flowing out. (Ezekiel 47:1)

I saw water flowing out. (Ezekiel 47:1)

4th Week of Lent

Throughout salvation history, the imagery of rivers and streams has been used to show God’s desire to heal and refresh his people. Genesis tells us that a river watered the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10). Jeremiah announced that those who place their confidence in God are like a tree planted by the water and bearing much fruit (Jeremiah 17:8). Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the Temple—a river whose waters deepened and broadened until they brought healing for all the nations (Ezekiel 47:1-9). And Psalm 46 tells of a river that gladdens the whole of Jerusalem (Psalm 46:5).

All of these images find their greatest fulfillment in the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was through the Spirit that the Church was born and is sustained. Beginning with the waters of baptism and ending with the promise of a drink from the river of life, the Holy Spirit is the one who fills us with hope, lifts our hearts with joy, and refreshes us in God’s love and grace.

Try to imagine all that the Holy Spirit does. Like a powerful river flowing through the Church, the Spirit nourishes us and moves us along the road to heaven. He brings to life the sacraments, the liturgy, and the teachings of the Church so that we can embrace them and be transformed by them. He unfolds the mysteries of the gospel, the attributes of God, and the unending love and mercy of Christ. He gives us words of wisdom and counsel, a sense of hope and peace, even healing from hurtful memories that have kept us bound for years.

Since God is so generous, let’s avail ourselves of the river of life. Let’s consume all the nourishment he wants to give us in his word and sacrament. Let’s proclaim our faith in the Lord and ask him to fill us up. As we do, we will feel his refreshment and renewal flowing in our hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do these things—and he is more than willing to do it!

(Culled from Word Among US, a daily Catholic Devotional)

Prayer

“Come, Holy Spirit, and open my heart. Let your living water flow in me and through me so that your refreshment can reach more and more people in the world.”

Psalm

Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[a]

God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[a] with fire.
NIV

Gospel Reading

John 5:1-16

Pool o Bethesada
Pool of Bethesda

After these things was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches.

In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water.

And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.

And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity.

Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole?

The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me.

Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.

And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the sabbath that day.

10 The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed.

11 He answered them: He that made me whole, he said to me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

12 They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

13 But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place.

14 Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee.

15 The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole.

16 Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, because he did these things on the sabbath.

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