Ezekiel 47:1–9, 12; Psalm 46:2–3, 5–6, 8–9; John 5:1–3a, 5–16
When there are people to be baptized in my parish during Lent, the whole season takes on a different character. Everything leads to the waters of the font. The conclusion of the catechumens’ journey through the lenten season focuses their final preparation for the Easter sacraments. We hear the Scriptures at Mass through the filter of those entering the church. We celebrate rituals—large and small—with the Sunday community and in the circle of candidates and sponsors.
But in the end, we come to the waters of the font. To help us in “sighting” our destination, today’s liturgy offers us a beautiful reading from the prophet Ezekiel. His book is full of wonderful, symbolic imagery, for example, the dry bones and the wheel of fire. He was a priest as well as a prophet, and so has a unique concern for the temple and its liturgy. He might be a special patron for those of us working with the liturgies of this season! He worked during the time of the exile in Babylon, sharing the lot of those taken there in 597.
He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem ten years later. He looked forward to a rebirth of Israel, and his promise of a new covenant would be realized in Jesus. Today’s passage of the water flowing from the Temple, beginning as a trickle and becoming a mighty river that brings healing and fruitfulness, is a perfect complement to Jesus’ cure of a man by Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda. And the prophet gives us a preview of the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, when we celebrate the initiation sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist for those becoming Christian.
Place a bowl of water and a spring plant on your table today.
God, we seek the life-giving waters of Easter,
there to be cleansed and renewed and brought to new life in Christ.