Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 + John 5:1-16
March 8, 2016
“Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.”
Today’s Gospel passage narrates the “third sign” of John’s account. Each of these seven signs (from John 2-12) bring us closer to Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.
This third sign is like the second in that Jesus demonstrates the immediacy of His divine power. The ill man explains that he has not been cured because he cannot reach the healing waters. But Jesus does not help the man into the waters. He does not even explain that the waters are unnecessary for the man’s healing. Jesus simply says, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
This third sign is a turning point in John’s gospel account. The last sentence of the passage ominously tells us that it was because of this sign that “the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.”
The First Reading today, from Ezekiel, foreshadows the power of Christ on Calvary. The Jewish Temple often foreshadows Christ Himself (“in whom dwells the fullness of divinity”), the Church as the Body of Christ, or Heaven. But in Ezekiel 47 the focus is not so much the Temple itself as it is the water that flows abundantly from the Temple. In these words the Church prepares us for Good Friday and the water pouring from Christ’s side, that water symbolizing the healing of Baptism.