November 9, 2012
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.
He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes.
On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Life Giving Waters
Today’s reading from Ezekiel is one of my favorite passages from the Old Testament, and it is the basis for the antiphon of the sprinkling rite in the Easter season: I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia; and all they to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say, alleluia, alleluia!
Sacred Scripture abounds in rich analogues to today’s reading. Psalm 46 says, “The waters of the river gladden the city of God,” and the final chapter of Revelation speaks of “the river that flows through the New Jerusalem, watering the tree of life.” It is curious that the earthly Jerusalem has no great river flowing through it, which means that the sacred authors must have had something else in mind besides a literal body of water.
The Church sees the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision in the sacrifice of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel. The water of life flows from the side of his body, the temple, and becomes a river, so great and pure that it makes even the salt waters of the sea fresh. Trees grow along its banks, which alludes to the words of Psalm 1 concerning the just man: “he is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in due season, and its leaf does not wither.” If we incline our hearts to the Gospel and drink of its waters, we will be like these trees whose leaves do not fade nor their fruit fail.
—Sam Conedera, S.J
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, drench me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
Good Jesus, hear me
Within your wounds, shelter me
from turning away, keep me
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
Into your presence lead me
to praise you with all your saints
Forever and ever.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
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