Lenten Reflection – 24 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16 and the Memorial of Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801)
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. … John 5:2-5
“It was because Jesus did things such as this on the Sabbath
that they began to persecute him.” …John 5:16
We begin to feel the power of the Fourth Gospel.
The “forces” that are opposed in the gospel
have everything to do with the forces at work in my heart.
“Go down, my brothers and put on the Holy Spirit in the waters of baptism;
be united with those spiritual beings who serve our God.
Blessed be He who instituted baptism for the forgiveness of Adam’s sons!
This water is the secret fire that marks His flock with a sign,
with the three spiritual names that confound the Evil one (cf. Rev 3:12). (…)
John bore witness concerning our Saviour:
“He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11).
Here, my brethren, in the true baptism, is that fire and that Spirit.
For baptism is more powerful than Jordan, that little stream,
its waves of water and oil wash away all human sin.
Elisha, by initiating it seven times, purified Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kgs 5:10);
whereas baptism purifies us of sins hidden in our souls.
Moses baptised the people in the sea (1 Cor 10:2)
yet could not cleanse their hearts from within,
Stained, as they were, by sin.
And now here is a Priest, like Moses, who cleanses the soul from its stains
and with oil He marks with a sign, lambs newborn for the Kingdom. (…)
With the water that flowed from the rock, the people’s thirst was quelled (Ex 17:1f.),
See how, through Christ and His spring, is quenched the thirst of nations. (…)
See how, from Christ’s side, there flows a life-giving stream (Jn 19:34),
peoples who thirst have drunk from it and there forgot their affliction.
Pour your dew on my weakness, Lord.
By your blood, forgive my sins.” … St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
God the Father has given us His only Son, the Word made human,
to be our food and our life. Let us thank Him and pray:
May the word of Christ dwell among us in all its richness.
Help us this Lenten season to listen more frequently to Your word,
– that we may celebrate the solemnity of Easter
with greater love for Christ, our Paschal Sacrifice.
May Your Holy Spirit be our teacher,
– that we may encourage those in doubt and error to follow what is true and good.
Enable us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Your Anointed One,
– that our lives may reveal Him more effectively.
Purify and renew Your Church in this time of salvation,
– that it may give an ever greater witness to You.
ACT OF CONTRITION
Forgive my sins, O my God, forgive my sins:
the sins of youth,
the sins of age,
the sins of my soul
and the sins of my body,
the sins which, through frailty, I have committed,
my deliberate and grievous sins,
the sins I know and the sins I do not know,
the sins I have laboured so long to hide from others,
that now they are hidden from my own memory,
let me be absolved from all these iniquities
and delivered from the bond of all these evils,
by the Life, Passion and Death
of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.