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Tuesday, March 8, 2005

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St. John of God

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalm 46
John 5:1-3, 5-16

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"there is a stream..." (ps 46:5)

"I saw water trickling." —Ezekiel 47:2

Imagine the people in your congregation leaving church after Sunday Mass. In your mental picture, you "see" most of them leave and drive off to the nicer sections of town, with beautiful trees, lawns, and nice houses. One family heads in the opposite direction. Their child has just been baptized at the Mass. They walk toward their tenement in the poor section of town, where the homes are run-down and the streets littered with trash. As the newly baptized child grows, he leads three of his teenage friends to join the Church. Soon thereafter, he discerns a vocation to the priesthood. Eventually, his friends decide to join him in the seminary. Years later, the four boys become priests and bring the gospel to thousands of people in their neighborhood. The entire section of town becomes a hotbed of faith in God (cf Ez 47:8-9).

The trickling of the waters of baptism is foreshadowed by the trickle of water from the temple into the harsh wasteland of the desert (Ez 47:1-2). These trickles miraculously multiply God's "power now at work in us," leading to an expansion in the Spirit which is "immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). As the mustard plant grows into a tall shrub from the tiniest of seeds (Mt 13:32), so our Baptism gives "fresh," abundant life where there once was desolation (Ez 47:9).

Renew your Baptism today and at Easter. "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). Let the living water of the Spirit become a river within you, flowing from you "to provide eternal life" (Jn 4:14), healing, and fruit (Ez 47:12) to increase the Kingdom of God.

Prayer:  Father, may rivers of Your life-giving water flow through me (Jn 7:38) to transform the culture of death into a civilization of love (Ez 47:8-9).

Promise:  "God is our Refuge and our Strength, an ever-present Help in distress." —Ps 46:2

Praise:  St. John of God was ungodly until he repented at age forty, then served God's people in holiness for fifteen years.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004