Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

(Ezekiel 47:1-9.12; John 5:1-16)

It is said that tavern keepers in Ireland like it when St. Patrick's Day falls on a day late in Lent.  They will increase profits because their clients will be less likely to return to the penance of tea tottering.  Those revelers will consider St. Patrick as having licensed them to begin the celebration of Easter.  But such an introduction into the Easter mystery will bring about a sham imitation of the life it promises. Today’s readings hint at what is to be expected.

Ezekiel highlights the Temple as the source of this abundant life.  From its bowels water flows to not only irrigate the land but also to purify the sea.  John’s gospel shows Jesus as an even more prodigious life-giver.  The paralytic does not have to manipulate himself into the Temple’s waters but only encounter the Lord to be cured.

With Easter approaching, Lenten penances actually lose their bite.  We have become used to life without beer, chocolate, or what have you.  We also know that our time to enjoy these delights is not long coming.  But the real expectation as we enter the home stretch of the Lenten course is not about what the tongue savors.  It concerns our being assured first that death will not close our lives and then that the soon-to-be baptized in the Church who will help us testify to this truth.