Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
(Ezekiel 47:1-9.12; John 5:1-16)
“...I think the river is a strong brown god,” T. S. Eliot wrote in his masterpiece, The Four Quartets. The evangelist John would reverse the idea. The river is not a god, but God is like a river. In today’s gospel he portrays Jesus with all the healing power of the river Ezekiel describes flowing from Jerusalem’s Temple. The paralytic at the Sheep gate, as sorry a dolt as we find in the gospels, is saved by this God.
Hopefully we have noticed that Lent has just taken a sharp turn. Its time to contemplate sinfulness has passed. Now it sets our sights on redemption. The executor of that grace comes to us as one like ourselves but as powerful as a river. We can return to Eliot’s elegant poem for instruction: “The point of intersection of the timeless/With time, is an occupation for the saint...For most of us..., there is only the unattended/Moment, the moment in and out of time, ...These are only hints and guesses, /Hints followed by guesses; and the rest /Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.” We have but twenty days to pray, observe, discipline, think, and act so that we may recognize Christ when he passes over us offering salvation.