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Friends, in today’s Gospel, John tells us that a Roman soldier, in order to verify that Jesus was dead, thrust a lance into the side of the crucified Christ, “and immediately blood and water flowed out.” Physicians tell us that this is a credible account, given that the lance would have pierced the pericardium, the sac around the heart, which contains a watery substance. 

What does this event mean? Theologians have speculated that the blood and water have a symbolic valence, evoking the sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism. 

But which first-century Jew would have missed the most obvious interpretation? This was the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy that when Yahweh cleansed his temple, water would flow forth for the renewal of the world.