Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Today's reading and reflection

FIRST READING  (Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12)
The angel brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.

Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate, that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

Going on eastward with a line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep.

Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the loins.

Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.

And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”

Then he led me back along the bank of the river.

As I went back, I saw upon the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh.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 sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

“And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

GOSPEL (John 5:1-16)
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

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. 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.

Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk’?”

Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.

Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.”

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath.

Do we really want to be changed? - Servants of the Word

In the River of God - David Wilkerson

The Holy Spirit is the River St Ambrose of Milan

“’The river of God is brimming with water.’ ‘You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.’ There can be no doubt about the river referred to, for the prophet says: ‘There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God;’ and in the gospel, the Lord himself says: ‘Streams of living water welling up to eternal life will flow from the heart of anyone who drinks the water I shall give him. He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.’ The river of God is brimming with water; that is to say, we are inundated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and from that fountain of life the river of God pours into us in full flood.

“We also have food prepared for us. And who is this food? It is he in whom we are prepared for life with God, for by receiving his holy body we receive a place in the communion of his holy body. This is what is meant by the words of the psalm: ‘You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.’ For as well as refreshing us now, that food also prepares us for the life to come.

“We who have been reborn through the sacrament of baptism experience intense joy when we feel within us the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit. We begin to have an insight into the mysteries of faith, we are able to prophesy and to speak with wisdom. We become steadfast in hope and receive the gift of healing. Demons are made subject to our authority. These gifts enter us like a gentle rain, and once having done so, little by little, they bring forth fruit in abundance.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (c.300 - c.368)

O, Ancient of Days,
We come from rivers that are not rivers, 
from fountains that do not sing of life, 
from barren springs where promise has failed, 
from stony wells that mock the dream of Jubilee. 

But from the abundance of your life, 
roll down upon us now the tide of your sweet Spirit, 
that flagging faith be refreshed, 
that stubborn wounds be cleansed and healed, 
that brokenness be drenched with wholeness, 
that what is defiled and disgrace be washed and relieved. 

From the headwaters of your mercy and goodness, 
flood the flatlands of resignation, 
carry away what is trifling, jaded, and vain, 
fill the cisterns provided to slake our thirst, 
fill us with yearning to mirror your lavish giving, 
brim the hearts of your people with tears of compassion 
and the laughter of joyful service. 

From heaven’s watershed of grace and salvation, 
cascade upon us the fullness of your realm; 
let its thunder possess our whole hearts, 
let its simplicity be our peace, 
let its quaking be our only strength. 

River of healing, Spirit of life,
grant this we beg you;
for love of your only One we pray. Amen.
- Jonathan Larson


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