Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO
4th Tuesday of Lent
Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12; John 5: 1-16
The two readings of today’s liturgy pose the same question. Do we sit by the side of the water of life, looking at our reflection or do we dive in and allow the water of life to soak into every pore? Christianity is not a spectator sport. The church is not a museum of antiquities. The waters of life flow through the City of God. The Lamb is the light of the City. Christ is the Temple, Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. From His pierced side flow streams of life-giving water. All who believe in Christ must bathe in the ever-flowing stream in order to have their sins washed away. This flowing spring will make fruitful every soul it touches, just like the rains make the fields fertile and fruitful.
God is the source of life-creating water and His mercy is without limit. However, for this ever-flowing stream to have any effect, we have to take the plunge. As He did to the cripple at the side of the pool, Jesus asks us, “Do you want to be well?” Then, interestingly, He waits for our reply. Jesus is the Father’s Face of Mercy. Gazing into our souls, He asks, “Do you want to be forgiven?” Then He waits for an answer. Jesus is the Savior of the Human Race. He looks with compassion at troubled humanity and asks, “Do you want to be saved?” Then He waits for an answer. God is in our hearts and His Word echoes within us. Will we answer?
Christ comes to assist us in our weakness. Are we ready to allow God to make us whole again? He has plans for each of us: “Plans for good and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). Seeing our crippled limbs, the Lord is moved by compassion and says: “Lift up your hands to the Holy Place” (Ps. 134:2). Through the Psalmist, Jesus is encouraging us to stretch out our hands to Him, “the radiance of God’s glory and the image of His being” (Heb. 1:3). Gazing into the eyes of Mercy, we can cry out: “Son of David, have mercy on me a sinner.” Grasping our trembling hands, Jesus says: “Courage! Don’t be afraid. Stand up and walk.” In the love of Christ we find an oasis of mercy. Let us plumb the depths of our being and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps. With hearts expanded may we contemplate the face of mercy cling to Him with an unwavering trust.