Lenten Sunday3 A (27 March 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
A woman came from her neighborhood well. We came to draw nearer to Jesus and to one another in our parish community. Hers was a simple task and it wasn’t. Simple because drawing water is straightforward: hard work but not complex; not simple because like every person in every age, the woman was a fusion of emotions, experiences, failures, successes and longings. Ours task is not different.
Jesus sat down about noon because he was tired out by his journey. We pause here awaiting any number of things: midday; midyear; sharing faith; welcoming a word; acknowledging how we tire; how our hearts thirst. The woman came, puzzled to see a man resting where women worked. She needed no other puzzle to complicate her life. “By heaven above, and Jacob’s well too,” she thought, “he’s not a man I know; why he even isn’t one of us!” Jesus sits down among us everyday, every moment. If we ask him, Jesus sits down with us, and we often leave disappointed. If we stumble on him, the way that woman at the well did, we often don’t recognize him; and if we do—isn’t this true?—we dread how he might complicate our already complicated lives.
Jesus spoke to the woman, and as she conversed with him—interrogating him first (how do you do what I wouldn’t do? who do you think you are?)—Jesus joined her at every moment, accompanying her further along, pouring questions of his own, God’s very own freeing questions, into her thirsty heart.
Jesus communicates with us: as the Word; in his Sacraments; in his cross; in images and colors; in music and song—Jesus longs for us. Do we converse with him? Not put him on trial (we’re too good at that). Do we ask him for his heart? Do we speak to him as to absent friends; departed parents; a loved one we recall fondly; that person we dream of meeting?
When the woman left Jesus, she left her water jar and was not disappointed. Not even distracted. She left on a mission! Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! No shame but joyful, unburdened peace.
Does well exist for us? Indeed; we were there—the baptismal pool. There God’s love was poured into us through Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Come again to him who creates us new everyday! Do we let Jesus’ abiding Spirit turn our thirsts into our mission as well as his?
In your 15 minutes with Jesus this week, compose yourself in our triune God. Ask the woman of Samaria to present you to Jesus. Praise Jesus for giving you his Spirit, his life, in so many different ways. Ask Jesus for the grace to live his life with deeper friendship and greater conviction. Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. The more we live his words which we pray, the more Jesus slakes our thirst for him.
Wiki-image of the woman of Samaria with Jesus is in the public domain.