21st MARCH 2023

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. –  Tamara Kulish



Ez 47: 1-9, 12;                        Ps 46: 2-3, 5-6, 8-9;               Jn 5: 1-16



The scripture passage before us is Ezekiel’s vision of the river of life flowing from the temple. For 25 years at the time of this prophesy the nation had been in exile and Jerusalem in wilderness. Ezekiel’s big question now was how hope could be restored, grace could flow and renewal be established. The river symbolizes life from God and the blessings that flow from His throne. This river of life is a gentle, safe, deep river, expanding as it flows. It begins with a tiny trickle of water – a small tear drop of grace flowing from the place of prayer and sacrifice out into the desert. This living water, flows and grows and deepens. It comes from God. It is pure grace.

The effect of the water of life is seen on the desert, a place where nothing grows is transformed, trees grow on each side of the river. These trees produce fruit for food and leaves for healing and there is a harvest every month. The greatest effect of this flowing living water is on the Dead Sea. Nothing lives in that sea, no fish, no aquatic plants. It is the one place on the entire surface of the earth where nothing lives. When the tiny trickle of living water from the place of prayer and sacrifice enters the sea of stagnant waters, the water immediately, powerfully, automatically become fresh. In one great sweep in the story of salvation, a turning point is seen – from death to life.

While our Gospel speaks of a new life for a man, Ezekiel speaks of an abundance of life for all creatures. Our readings today are united by the common metaphor of water and building – river and Temple. In the first reading, the pool and Bethesda of the Porticos in the Gospel. The theme in both cases is new life always offered prodigally for those who wish to have it. In our search to find a fresh vision we need God’s renewing grace and power. Jesus hints at the ‘how’ of new life: keep away from sin.

Response: The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

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