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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

...Do you Want To ... †

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Others Can Show Us Our Best Selves

"Do you want to be healed?...Then stand up, pick up your mat and walk!" —John 5:7, 9

In John's Gospel we see an image of fruitful and healing water, fittingly called Bethesda or "house of mercy." We have the healing waters available and bubbling, a house of mercy for sure, but a man who is right there not making use of it! He is paralyzed as much in spirit as in his body. This is the real "sin" and tragedy that he must be healed of. He is playing the victim: "I have no one to plunge me into the pool. By the time I get there someone else has always beaten me to it." And he has been saying this for thirty-eight years! So Jesus orders him up, and tells him to pick up his mat and walk for himself. Jesus mirrors his best self for the man, he empowers him, and gives him back his own power, he "images" him, he gives the man back to himself by giving him His self. This is the way it has to happen, because we all begin to see ourselves as other people see us—for good and for ill. With Jesus, it is always for good, but such perfect mirroring also carries further relationship and responsibilities with it. He warns the man not to turn back to his paralysis, "or something worse will overtake you." This "regressive restoration of the old persona" is a very common pattern when we are sent out into new and risky worlds when we have to take responsibility for ourselves, when we must courageously face our own lives and stand on our own courageous feet. There are few honest guides, like Jesus, at this point. Most will tell you to "take good care of yourself" and pad your false self. Jesus never does that. We need healing images and courageous people to image us at our best. Nothing else will invite us into the flowing waters from the temple and the always bubbling pool of divine mercy. Many never take the risk, and remain spiritual infants even much beyond "thirty-eight years."

"Healing God, give me the courage to move forward, and help me to see that my deepest sin might be my unwillingness to keep growing."

— from the book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent

by Richard Rohr, OFM

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†Saint Quote
"My prayer is that the good God may establish His absolute reign in your heart and in the hearts of all."
— St. Julie Billiart

†Meditation of the Day
"Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy. One can only imagine the shock and bewilderment the Apostles felt when the Lord told them he must go away. Though they could not understand it at the time, his departure was for their benefit. The same is true of the unexpected setbacks and tragedies we experience in this life . . . When I consider the times when I have been confounded by events that seemed so contrary to what I thought God wanted for me, I should be mindful that they were permitted by the Lord's inscrutable providence for my own good, as difficult as that might be to fathom."
— Patrick Madrid, p. 251
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Bible

†Verse of the Day
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? "I the Lord search the mind and try the heart, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."
Jeremiah 17:9-10

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ST. ABRAHAM OF EDESSA

St. Abraham of Edessa (300-360 A.D.), also known as Abraham of Kidunaia, was a rich nobleman from Mesopotamia. He married according to his parents' wishes, despite his desire to give himself totally to God. After the wedding ceremony he fled to a cave and hid himself, leaving only a small window to receive food. He lived there as a hermit, and after the death of his parents gave his inheritance to the poor. The Bishop of Edessa ordained him as a priest and sent him to lead a notoriously sinful city. There Abraham was beaten and maligned for three years until his prayers prevailed and every citizen came to him for baptism. He then returned to his hermitage and lived there the rest of his life. After his brother's death his young niece was left to his care. He set her up to live as a religious in a cell next to his, which she did for twenty years until she succumbed to the seduction of a rogue hermit. She was so ashamed of her sin that she despaired of God's mercy and became a prostitute. St. Abraham prayed for his niece earnestly for two years; then, discovering her location, left his cell and came to her disguised as a suitor. When they were alone he revealed his identity to her, and, pleading with her throughout the night, prevailed upon her to return with him to her life of prayer and penance. She came back to her cell, which Abraham relocated directly behind his own for her protection, and became St. Mary of Edessa. St. Abraham's feast day is March 16th.

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 245
Reading I

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 fa├žade 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

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.

agosp
ANF

Daily Meditation: John 5:1-16

. . . when the water is stirred up. (John 5:7)

Water is essential for life. In extremely arid environments, plants squeeze every drop of moisture out of the soil or air to stay alive. St. John draws on this life-giving quality of water in today's Gospel when he tells the story of Jesus healing a man near a pool in Jerusalem.

Jesus sees this man, who stayed by a pool known to have healing powers but for whatever reason had never been healed. "Someone else gets down there before me," the man says (John 5:7). According to an ancient tradition, the pool contained healing powers only at certain times, when God stirred it up. The movement likely came from an underground spring that would occasionally flow into the pool. In biblical language, running water, as opposed to the still water of a pool, was called "living water."

There is dramatic irony here: the man was telling his tale of woe to Jesus, the source of all living water (John 4:10, 14). Jesus had no need to use the pool. All he had to do was give a word of command, and the man was healed.

We can find ourselves in a similar irony in our relationship with Jesus. So often we turn to God to solve some problem or to grant us a blessing. Of course this is not bad in itself—Jesus started with the man's natural desire: "Do you want to be well?" (John 5:6). But if our relationship with Jesus is limited to such prayers, it may mean that we are seeking him because of what he can do for us, not because of who he is.

Like the man by the pool, we can miss Jesus standing before us, the source of life and healing. He can quench our thirst for love, for forgiveness, for freedom and meaning. His presence can soothe us like living water. He can fill us with a peace that doesn't come and go. In him we can find answers; we can find hope. We can find him who satisfies us like nothing else can.

Jesus is offering you his living water today. You may see obstacles in your life; you may be waiting for the pool to stir or for someone to carry you. But Jesus stands ready to cut right through your circumstances, to heal and restore.

"Jesus, Healer, I thirst for your living waters."

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

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God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has commited some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.
— St. John Henry Newman

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2cts

my2cents:
" I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east..."
They say our Lord's blood flowed out from His heart and He faced east...this water my beloved, goes deeper and deeper with time, mercy goes deeper and deeper in time. Think of that, and ask yourself...do I thirst for this water? Because it flows. At my parish, our crucifix behind the altar faces east, and all my ponderings are from His right side...everything that's ever happened to me has happened on His right side at any church and at any Mass.

psalms

Today we pray: "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."
What makes a place beautiful and spectacular and alive? If you are like me, I live in a desert type area. What makes something come alive is water. If you are in a desert place, so is our Lord, and if our Lord is with you, then there is living water which He can give. Tap into the rock.

2cents2

Our Lord comes into our lives:
"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.

What in the world just happened here?
A phenomenal event just took place. The world changed. A dead man walked. A sinner was forgiven. And an innocent man is soon condemned.

You see, it costs our Lord something every time, to heal someone. It costs Him His life. So think about that for every miracle you've ever experienced or have heard of experiencing. Someone has paid the price for that. We'd like to think of God as an endless ATM cash for "All The Miracles", but is this how we are to see our God? They say thousands were fed, and perhaps hundreds were healed upon touching Him. But it was those times that He met someone and healed them, that He was persecuted. He healed a blind man, and our Lord was persecuted. He healed the crippled hand in the temple, and was persecuted. He healed a man by the waters of Bethesda, and He would soon pay the price of His own waters of life.
Are you in need of a miracle?

Are you sad, or anxious? Are you weak in your faith? Come to the water. Come be filled with the water from the side of Christ. This water in you gives you life, so long as you make the waters run. Stir them up. Stir up the healing waters, make the world stir up. The world changes when you change. The world heals when you heal. The world sees light, when you drink this light water. Be aware of the cost of the water though. Be very aware of what extreme sacrifice was given to God for you to have this water availed. Therefore, it is precious water. Not because of limited resources as the world sees gold, no, it is precious because of the price it cost, so much.

One drop can heal a weary soul, and save their life for all eternity. Such is a drop of faith. Such is a grain of His precious Body, and such is the seed of salvation.

Lord, Thou hast sown a seed in my heart and soul. Now My Lord, water, I need water! Water my thirsty soil of my life and body, so that this seed of light may grow and grow so big that Thy Divine Eyes can see it from Heaven...my beacon of Love for Thy Most Precious Heart...that is the font of all life...My soul is athirst for Thy Living Body....

from your brother in Christ our Lord,
adrian

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Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

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God Bless You! Peace

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