Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent




Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 245

1st Reading – EZ 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel – JN 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.'”
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

Catholic Daily Reflections

Paralyzed by Sin

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. John 5:8-9

Let’s look at one of the clear symbolic meanings of this passage above. The man Jesus healed was paralyzed, being unable to walk and take care of himself. Others neglected him as he sat there by the pool, hoping for kindness and attention. Jesus sees him and gives him His full attention. After a short dialogue, Jesus cures him and tells him to rise and walk.

One clear symbolic message is that his physical paralysis is an image of the result of sin in our lives. When we sin we “paralyze” ourselves. Sin has grave consequences on our lives and the clearest consequence is that we are left unable to rise and then walk in the ways of God. Grave sin, especially, renders us powerless to love and live in true freedom. It leaves us trapped and unable to care for our own spiritual lives or for others in any way. It’s important to see the consequences of sin. Even minor sins hinder our abilities, strip us of energy, and leave us spiritually crippled to one extent or another.

Hopefully you know this and it is not a new revelation to you. But what must be new to you is the honest admission of your current guilt. You must see yourself in this story. Jesus did not heal this man only for the good of this one man. He healed him, in part, to tell you that He sees you in your broken state as you experience the consequences of your sin. He sees you in need, looks at you and calls you to rise and walk. Do not underestimate the importance of allowing Him to perform a healing in your life. Do not neglect to identify even the smallest sin which imposes its consequences upon you. Look at your sin, allow Jesus to see it, and listen to Him speak words of healing and freedom.

Reflect, today, upon this powerful encounter this crippled man had with Jesus. Put yourself into the scene and know that this healing is also done for you. If you have not done so already this Lent, go to Confession and discover Jesus’ healing in that Sacrament. Confession is the answer to the freedom that awaits you, especially when it is entered into honestly and thoroughly.

Lord, please forgive me for my sins. I desire to see them and to acknowledge the consequences they impose upon me. I know that You desire to free me from these burdens and to heal them at the source. Lord, give me courage to confess my sins to You, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus, I trust in You.

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