Lenten Reflection – 13 March – Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16
Ezekiel 47:9 – And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the seak may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
John 5:6-9 – When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.
The theme of life-giving water again dominates the readings of today’s Mass. “Come to the waters, all who thirst, though you have no money, come and drink with joy” (Entrance Antiphon). The time for the prospective converts’ baptism is drawing near.
We need to be reminded that we don’t have to imagine ourselves as catechumens to share their desire and thirst. We can and do, always long for greater and greater union in love “All who thirst, come to the waters.” The Opening Prayer is not just for catechumens but for us all – “Father, may our lenten observance prepare us to embrace the paschal mystery and proclaim Your salvation with joyful praise.”
To embrace the paschal mystery is to die and rise with Jesus. It is the ultimate glory of every human, baptised or not. If we do not yet experience the fullness of the thirst for God signified by the living waters of baptism, it may well be that our thirst has been dulled by our personal alienation from Christ. Conversion to Christ is ongoing, it never ends! This conversion we claim to be working at, is it for real and for how long? We don’t have to tell our Lord that we have no-one to put us into the water, we KNOW where the pool is – it is the Sacrament of Confession, it is in Confession where He heals us just as He healed the man at the pool! The healing pool is also the Eucharist and certainly, it will be the grace-filled moment of our baptismal renewal on Holy Saturday night and Easter.
What the catechumens longed for, we possess now – Baptism, the Eucharist, Confession and these are always available. We don’t even have to wait for Easter!
In our Easter encounter with Him who is our Good Shepherd and who says, “I lay down my life for my sheep”, satisfies all our wants and desires and needs. “In green pastures He will give us rest, He will lead us along the waters of peace” (Communion Antiphon). In the Eucharist, in Confession, God is and always will be in our midst! Run to Him, praise Him!…(Fr E Lawrence OSB- Daily Meditations for Lent)
When has God been most present to you?
How often to I attend Daily Mass and Confession?
Could I change this practise – today and for the rest of my life?
“Ah, who would not be touched? …. A God who weeps with so many tears at the loss of one soul and Who cries unceasingly: My friend, my friend, why proceedest thou thus to lose thy soul and thy God? Stop! Stop! Ah! Look at my tears, my Blood which flows yet. Must I die a second time to save thee? Look at me. Ah! Angels from Heaven descend upon earth, come and weep with me for the loss of this soul! Oh, that a Christian should be so unfortunate as to persevere still in running towards the abyss despite the voice which his God causes him to hear continually! But, you may say to me, no one says these things to us. Oh my friends, unless you want to stop up your ears, you will hear the voice of God, which follows you unceasingly.
Tell me, my friends, then, what is this remorse of conscience which overwhelms you in the midst of sin? Why do these anxieties and storms agitate you? Why this fear, this dread that you are in, when you seem to be forever expecting to be crushed by the thunders of Heaven? How many times, even when you were sinning, have you not experienced the touch of an invisible hand which seemed to push you away, as if someone were saying: Unhappy man, what are you doing? Unhappy man, where are you going? Ah my son, why do you wish to damn yourself? ….
Would you not agree with me that a Christian who despises so many graces deserves to be abandoned and rejected because he has not listened to the voice of God or profited by His graces? On the contrary, my dear brethren, it is God Himself Who is scorned by this ungrateful soul who would seem to wish to put Him to death again. All creation demands vengeance and it is, in fact, God alone Who wishes to save this soul and Who is opposed to all that could be prejudicial to it.
He watches over its salvation as if it were the only soul in the world.”...St John Vianney (1786-1859)
For a small teardrop from the eye
can cause an entire evil platoon of the Tempter’s
army to shrink away,
like the squirming of centipedes or earthworms,
drowning in a puddle of oil or a drop of
some lethal potion.
And the faint groan of a sighing heart,
rising from the soul,
is like a warm southerly breeze, mixed with sun,
that melts the fiercest blizzard,
for like storms, they are easily born and when
opposed, quickly die.
St Gregory of Narek (c951-c1010) Doctor of the Church