Today’s first reading was from the book of Ezekiel, one of my favorite passages about the streams of water flowing out from the side of the Temple. One line in particular grabbed me:
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.
As I heard this at Mass this morning, I suddenly imagined myself as the fruit tree growing on the bank of the river. Long ago when we read this passage in our Bible study group we talked about how this image of the Temple with the streams of water flowing out of it prefigures Christ on the cross. Christ’s body is the temple and blood and water flowed out from his heart when his side was pierced by the soldier’s spear. The Divine Mercy devotions focus on the blood and water as a font of mercy and love pouring out upon Christ’s people. Recently I have felt a great thirst, a desire to draw closer to Christ’s Body in the Eucharist and so I see myself as the tree being fed by the streams of water. Oh I very much want for that grace and mercy to bear fruit in me that will not fail.
I am reminded of Psalm 128: “
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
around your table.
Somehow I’d always sort of assumed that “fruitful” referred to childbearing; but really it’s more than that, isn’t it? The fruits the vine—or the tree—bears are the fruits of grace. They are virtues and good deeds. Above all love and mercy. Love is the fruit and mercy is the medicinal leaf. What I have hoped as I’ve carved out time to go to Mass and Adoration has been that the grace I will receive will flow out for my family, will help me to be more the wife and mother I want to be. More patient and tender and kind. More selfless and gentle. Today’s reading speaks to me heart, reminding me that indeed the Eucharist is the only life-giving font. If I plant myself there, surely I will be given what I most desire.