Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Joseph of Arimathaea, disciple of the Lord who “awaited the kingdom of God.”

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Ezekiel 47, 1-9.12

He brought me back to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream flowed eastwards from under the Temple threshold, for the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar.

He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side.

The man went off to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles.

He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my waist.

He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross.

He then said, 'Do you see, son of man?' He then took me and brought me back to the bank on the river.

Now, when I reached it, I saw an enormous number of trees on each bank of the river.

He said, 'This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome.

Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows.

Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.'


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The passage from the prophet Ezekiel describes his vision of Jerusalem and the temple. In the previous chapters the prophet emphasized several times Israel’s infidelity to the Lord. Likewise in this season of Lent we are invited over and over again to recognize our unfaithfulness--our sin--because we have obeyed our pride more than the Word of the Lord. But the Lord is near us and does not fail to give us his word. Today - through this vision of the prophet - he wants to show us the place to which he is leading us and his dream for us and our future. The vision of the temple and Jerusalem that opens before our eyes is striking: there is an abundance of water that flows from the temple and gives life to those who encounter it. The image alludes to the opening of a new era in which the prosperity of the new people will be intimately connected to the only source of true life. In biblical language, flowing water that irrigates the arid land and turns it into a lush garden is a symbol of God's power that transforms the arid hearts of men and women. It enables them to accept God’s dream and to become its active servants. In the Gospel of John it is Jesus who shows himself as the true temple from which flows the living water of the Spirit: "Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water."’(Jn 7:37-38) and, while he was on the cross, the evangelist notes: "One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out"(Jn 19:34). As we move towards Easter this page of the prophet exhorts us not to detach ourselves from the source of the Word of God so that our hearts may understand and accept more readily the mystery of love that we will celebrate during Holy Week. In those days, a river of living water will be poured out for us to feast upon and from which to bear fruit.