Daily Readings Reflection for 4/5/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 246:  Ezekiel 47:1-9.12.  Psalm 46:2-3.5-6.8-9.
John 5:1-3.5-16

Tuesday’s Readings

Ezekiel is a major prophet and has given us the magnificent colorful book
called Ezekiel in the second part of the Hebrew Bible called the
“Prophets” (Nabiim).  He was in exile in Tel-Abib near Babylon just before
the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed.  He gives several lessons that are
relevant today: a vision of hope and promise resulting in redemption.  In
the “Valley of the Dry Bones” he foretells the resurrection of his people
and assures them that they are not guilty of their ancestors sins;
individual responsibility offers the reward or punishment for one’s moral
or immoral actions.  This was a new insight coming from the priestly
Ezekiel, a prophet of great imagination.  He explodes upon us readers with
unusual statements and even more symbolic actions that are way out of this
world.  His symbolism has been heavily borrowed by the last book of the New
Testament, the Book of Revelation.  One needs to read Ezekiel to understand
those symbols and to give a prophetic context to that final book.  One
thing for sure, Ezekiel is not boring!

We are awakened by the prophets messages as they come to us here and there
in the liturgical readings of Lent.  The great scene of the Temple, which
he knew so well and describes so descriptively, is now filled with the
symbolism of water that eventually becomes a river flowing from the the
south side of the Temple into the desert, the Arabah.  All life springs
from this life giving water and the trees on both sides produce fruit that
is perennial.  We are easily led by this vision into the sacrament of
Baptism which will be given to the catechumens this Holy Saturday.  The
“enlightened ones” (illuminati) will be bathed in the passion, death, and
resurrection of Jesus through their Baptism.  New birth, new life, renewal
all are graces of this sacrament and this season of Lent.

We recall Psalm one and a passage from Jeremiah that was read recently in
our liturgy of Lent.  They basically confirm what the vision of Ezekiel
presents to us in more detail. They easily can be used as supplemental
prayer and reflection material for this outstanding reading about the
waters of the Temple.  (see Psalm 1:1-6 and Jeremiah 17:5-10). The imagery
of the trees planted near running waters reminds of that their fruit is
always there–perhaps, Jesus recalled this image when he “cursed” the fig
tree.  We, in turn, often are to judge ourselves by the fruit that we
produce in our ministries, relatinships, and work.  We are like the trees
that can nourish others and our leaves are medicine just like the metaphor
tells us.  We should rejoice this week of Lent following “Laetare Sunday”
when vestments were a lighter purple or rose colored.  Though we are bathed
through our baptism in the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus we
are joyful because of the mercies and graces of God given to us.  Amen.

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