March 23, 2014

3rd Sun. of Lent

March 23, 2014:  3rd Sunday of Lent

  • Ex 17:3-7  The thirsty people grumbled against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt?”  Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do?”  The Lord answered, “Go in front of them, strike the rock with the staff, and water will flow.”  Moses did.  The place was called Massah and Meribah, because they tested the Lord there.
    Wordle: Readings 3-23-14
  • Ps 95:1-2, 6-9  "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  Sing to the Lord, our God, who made us; bow down in worship.  Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, where your fathers tested me...
  • Rom 5:1-2, 5-8  We've been justified by faith and have peace with God through Christ.  The Spirit has poured out God's love into our hearts.  God proves his love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners.
  • Jn 4:5-42  Jesus sat down there at Jacob's well and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink and tells her he has lifegiving water...  True worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.  I am the Messiah."  She went to the town and said, “Come see a man who could be the Christ!”  They came.  He told the disciples, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me.  The fields are ripe for harvest; others did the work, and you're sharing the fruits.”  Many began to believe.  Samaritans invited him to stay, and he stayed.  Many told the woman, “We've heard for ourselves and know he's the savior.”
Pope Francis
  • Angelus:  In asking the Samaritan woman for a drink, Jesus cut across Jewish/Samaritan hostilities, crushed prejudice against women, and began open dialogue.  He asks to open her heart and highlight her thirst, for more than water; she's touched and asks questions we too harbor but can lack courage to turn to Jesus about.  Jesus approaches us today, filled with love, unprejudiced, not judging but recognizing me and stimulating me to go beyond.  Lent is a time to allow our needs to surface, then ask for lifegiving water.  The disciples were amazed when they discovered Jesus spoke to her, but his mercy is above prejudice.
The woman was transformed:  she left her water jar, returned to town happy, and told of her meeting:  "Could he be the Messiah?" She found living water, ran to where she'd been judged, and announced that she'd encountered one who changed her life.  Each encounter with Jesus changes our life.  We too have ‘water jars,’ things that appear important but lose value before God.  What's yours, that weighs you down and takes you from God?  Leave it aside and listen to Jesus who offers water that brings us close to God.  As the woman did, bear witness to the joy of encountering Jesus.
  • Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's sermon, part 2 of 2:  Don't look at each other with envy; what others have that I don't is mine too.  If you think you don't have spiritual gifts, remember love is the greatest; if you love unity, you also have what they have.  As the whole body benefits from the eyes and hands, so too in Christ's body, every member is and does for all.  Charity is “excellent” because it makes me love the Church community, and through unity multiplies charisms.  When can apply this to internal relationships, our Church, and relationships among churches, for all practical purposes we'll have Christian unity.  To live in the Spirit and attain eternity, preserve charity and love truth.  
    • Creighton: The Hebrews dying of thirst complained to Moses who cried to God and struck the rock; then water flowed to save them.  Paul was on the way to persecute Jesus' followers when he encountered Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was poured out.  The Samaritan woman encountered Jesus who offered her living water; touched, she spread the word, and many came to believe. In all cases, God came, unexpected and unmerited.  We need God; we're invited into a relationship with God through the Spirit poured into our hearts.  Lent is a time to return to Jesus, acknowledge our thirst, and pray for an outpouring of love through the Spirit.
    •  God gave the Israelites water even though they didn't trust him in the wilderness.  Jesus treated the Samaritans, enemies of Jews, with kindness and respect; he reached out to the Samaritan woman and spoke with her as a friend, breaking through prejudice and tradition to bring peace and reconciliation.  Water brings life and growth; it's an image of thirst for God, God's lifegiving wisdom, and the Spirit's work of renewing and sustaining us.  God's love and salvation are for all.
    • Passionist:  Why did the woman stick around, given Jewish-Samaritan animosity and the possible shame after he identified her five 'husbands'?  Maybe she was thirsting for the 'water' he offered.  Many thirst for God, or meaning, in the wrong places; let's help them, listening and showing compassion, sharing our hope in Christ, not judging—with the woman's courage.

    • "Rock" tie pin:  the rock Moses struck (1st reading); acclaim the rock of our salvation (psalm)
    • "Sheep" tie bar:  we're the flock the Lord guides (psalm)
    • Keyboard/music tie:  sing to God (psalm); music with the NETeam at/after their Confirmation retreat at St. Bede
    • "Kneeling person" tie bar:  kneel before the Lord who made us (psalm)
    • "Peace sign" tie bar:  we have peace with God through Christ (2nd reading)
    • "Keyboard with dove" tie pin:  God's love poured out by the Spirit (2nd reading); God is Spirit (gospel)
    • Blue shirt:  well water, living water (gospel)
    • Purple in suspenders and tie:  Lenten season

    Dress your life!

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