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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent


Reading I Ez 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 cubits and 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 for medicine.”


Gospel John 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a 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.


REFLECTION

What is the significance of Water in the readings today?


In both the first reading and the Gospel, water is mentioned. In the first reading, the water from the sanctuary brings life, and the trees were fruitful and their leaves were medicine. The water from the Gospel brings healing.


The belief about the pool of Bethesda was that it was stirred by an angel and after the waters were stirred it had the power to cure. Jesus knew that the crippled man had waited for a long time, in fact, for thirty-eight years to be healed in the water. But without a drop of water or touching him Jesus tells him to “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Jesus’ words healed him.


Why did Jesus go to the pool named Bethesda? Was there a reason? I have learned from our FACE ZBS lessons, a deeper understanding of Jesus’ actions and words. Everything Jesus does, says, and where He is and to whom He addresses is significant and has a deeper meaning. There are many pools in the temple area. Why did Jesus go there?


I wanted to find out so I looked up what Bethesda translates to? Beth hesda in Hebrew translates to “house of mercy” or “house of grace.” In Hebrew and Aramaic it could also mean “shame” or “disgrace.” The Jewish people believed that people who were crippled, blind, or sick were sinners. So, what does Jesus do, he finds the man who had been lame for 38 years at the pool Bethesda and asks him, “Do you want to be well?” Jesus in His mercy cured the man by just telling him to rise and walk.


When I read the Word of God, do I meditate and ask questions about what Jesus is doing? Do I look for a deeper meaning? Do I question and search for answers by asking a priest? So much more can be learned?


Join us in our FACE ZBS encounters with Jesus in our Sunday readings with a priest and theologian who can answer our questions and help us to understand and get to know Our Lord, Jesus, better.


Let us pray for our priests to teach and help us know Our Lord more and more, because to know Him is to love Him.


Let us pray for our priests to preach God’s message of love, life, and healing to all.


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