Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Oscar Arnulfo Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, a martyr. He was killed on March 24, 1980 on the altar. Memorial of the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine that took place in Rome in 1944, in which the Nazis killed 335 people.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

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

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Through this vision of the prophet Ezekiel, the Word of God shows us the destination where we are heading, the dream that the Lord has for us. Jerusalem and the temple appear in front of our eyes. The water flows abundantly from the temple and flows to revive whatever it encounters. In biblical language, the water which flows and irrigates the dry land transforming it into a flourishing garden is the symbol of God's power, a power which transforms the dryness of our own hearts rendering us able not only to welcome God's dream but to actively serve that dream. In the Gospel of John, Jesus shows himself to be the true temple from which the living water of the Spirit flows: "While Jesus was standing there, he cried out, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn 7:38). And again while he was on the cross, the evangelist notes: "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out" (Jn 19:34). As we near Easter this passage of the prophet calls us to stay particularly close to the source of the Word of God especially during these days so to be able to understand and welcome more readily in our hearts the mystery of love that we celebrate during Holy Week. In those days a river of water will be poured onto us and the world. Let us be overwhelmed by Jesus' love who, in order to love us, climbs up to the cross. Romero's example, who was killed on the altar because he defended the poor, is a bright testimony for all.