Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Ezekiel 47:1-9.12; John 5:1-16)
“See Naples and die!” is a famous dictum proclaiming the glory that once belonged to the southern Italian city. The readings today suggest a more compelling paraphrase: “See Jesus and live!”
The first reading from the prophet Ezekiel anticipates the wonder of the Jerusalem temple. Solomon’s temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians. Toward the beginning of the exile Ezekiel had the vision of a new temple. It would be magnificent in structure and contain marvelous properties like life-giving water. The gospel shows that Jesus exhibits the properties of the temple in Ezekiel’s vision. Earlier in the gospel Jesus referred to his body as a temple to be destroyed and resurrected. In today’s passage he shows how his restorative power supersedes that of the contemporary temple’s waters.
We must see Jesus as the one who gives us the fullness of life. He reinforces us so that mundane impulses do not lead our spirits to destruction. He also brings us to an eternal dwelling place with his Father. He deserves both our imitation and our trust.